The best way to shop? With the seasons. So, every 2 weeks at Kitchen Stories, we’ll be highlighting a different in-season ingredient along with 3 new recipes. To market, we go!
Everything to Know About Cooking and Shopping for In Season Brussels Sprouts
Plus, 3 new recipes!
The story of Brussels sprouts is basically that of “The Ugly Duckling.” If you know how to prepare them right, they will mature into a beautiful swan, or at least into tiny delicacies. Whether you use them in creamy casseroles, bake them in the oven until they’re crispy, blanch and serve them with melted butter, or eat them raw in salads—Brussels sprouts are anything but boring!
They also have a lot of vitamins to offer. Containing approx. 115 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, they are one of the most nutritious types of cabbage. They also contain various B vitamins, as well as folic acid, zinc, iron, and potassium. Only more reason to take a closer look at these small but mighty vegetables today!
What’s your favorite recipe with Brussels sprouts? Tell us in the comments, then upload a picture of your creations for all to enjoy!
1. Hello, My Name is Brussels Sprout
Brussels sprouts are a variety of cabbage and a member of the family of cruciferous vegetables. Unlike most types of cabbages, they are a quite young vegetable that didn’t spread to Europe until the 19th century. They were first cultivated in Belgium, which explains their name.
Contrary to common belief, the green heads of Brussels sprouts are not individual cabbage heads but the buds of the plant. Dozens of buds grow on each stalk.
Besides the classic green Brussels sprout, you’ll also find purple varieties. Still, they taste almost the same and the purple color fades almost completely during the cooking process.
2. When and How to Find the Perfect Brussels Sprouts
As a typical winter vegetable, Brussels Sprouts are in season when it’s cold, from November until January. They simply taste best when they are exposed to freezing cold temperatures. This “frost treatment” converts the starchy part of the plant into sugar, lending Brussels sprouts not only a delicate flavor, but also diminishing bitter substances.
You’ll find fresh Brussels sprouts at the market as well and in the produce department of any supermarket. Buy them loosely, packed in net bags, or already cleaned and shrink-wrapped. You should always make sure that the buds are firm, rich-green colored, and tightly enclosed by its leaves. Their cut surfaces should be smooth and as firm as possible, as well. Don’t buy any Brussels sprouts that have yellow leaves that are already wrinkled. These are sure signs for poor quality.
3. How to Store Brussels Sprouts
Unlike most types of cabbage, Brussels sprouts shouldn’t be stored too long. After buying, they are stored best in a chilled place like the vegetable compartment in your fridge. There, they will keep for 4 – 8 days.
Make sure to store them far away from apples and tomatoes that release the gas ethylene. This causes the green buds to wither faster.
4. How to Prepare Brussels Sprouts
Depending on the recipe you’re planning to cook, it’s possible to prepare Brussels sprouts whole, halved, quartered, or grated. You can even cook the single leaves on their own. To make sure that the buds lose their bitterness, always start by removing the stalks and any browning outer leaves that are already slightly withered.
If you want to prepare them whole, cut them crosswise at the bottom at the stem, which will ensure that the buds cook evenly. To blanch Brussels sprouts, bring water to a boil and cook for approx. 5 – 7 min. Adding a pinch of sugar will result in a milder taste in the end. Directly afterwards, drain and rinse them with cold water.
Alternatively, you can also bake them in the oven, fry the sprouts in a pan until golden brown, or purée them to include in some creamy soups!
5. What to Make Next
All week long, we’ll be featuring new Brussels sprouts recipes on Kitchen Stories. Check back to see what’s new, then try one for yourself! Here’s where to start:
Published on January 14, 2018