Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts 101 – The Basics

Brussels Sprouts…you either hate ’em or love ’em. Well, I think if you hate them it’s because you haven’t had them cooked right. Years ago it was very common for people to cook vegetables until very soft in a big pot of boiling water. Then a large amount of butter (or margarine) was slathered on top to hide the flavor and they were then served. No wonder so many people hate this vegetable!

Today, we’ve learned better. We now know other ways to cook vegetables to actually make them taste better while still preserving some if not most of their nutritional value. We need to take a second look at this loathed vegetable and give it the credit it’s due.

In the video below, I discuss a lot of basic information about Brussels sprouts including nutrition tidbits, how to select, store, and prepare them, and list herbs, spices and other foods that go well with Brussels sprouts. And, if that’s not enough, I’ve included some links to sites that have some interesting recipes using the sprouts. My notes from the video are below, so you can enjoy the video and simply copy the notes for your future reference. Enjoy!

I hope this helps!

Brussels Sprouts 101 – The Basics

Brussels sprouts are in the cabbage family. They are not baby cabbages, but a separate plant that grows on a stalk. These vegetables are delicious when not overcooked. The very component that gives them their sulfur smell when overcooked is the same chemical that gives them their anti-cancer properties. So…maybe we need to take a second look at these little gems!

Nutrition tidbits
Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin A (beta-carotene), C, K, folic acid, iron, magnesium and fiber. They also contain a good amount of selenium. Because of their vitamin K content, you may need to limit the amount you eat if you’re on blood thinning medications.

How to select
Look for bright green heads that are firm and heavy for their size. The leaves should be tightly packed. Avoid those with yellowing leaves or black spots on them. Smaller ones are usually sweeter and more tender than larger ones.

How is it usually eaten…raw or cooked?
Brussels sprouts are commonly eaten cooked, although then can be consumed raw. Cooking releases sulfur compounds that make them strong tasting and bitter, which is why many people don’t like them. When cooking with water, cook only for short times to prevent the strong, bitter flavor. Also, they should not be bitter when roasted properly. Sauté them for a short time to reduce bitterness.

Fresh vs frozen vs canned
Brussels sprouts are usually purchased fresh, but can be found frozen in grocery stores. They are not available canned.

How to prepare them
Trim off the dry stem end. Remove loose outer leaves. They can be left whole, sliced in halves or quarters, or shredded for a salad or slaw.

Cooking/serving methods
Sprouts can be boiled, steamed, roasted, baked, sautéed, stir-fried, and shredded for a salad or slaw.

Some serving suggestions (provided on a package of Brussels sprouts from Green Giant):

Halve Brussels sprouts, toss in balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasonings. Sauté with sliced onions and mix with cooked pasta shells. Top with bacon bits.

Marinate Brussels sprouts in BBQ sauce, or other savory glaze, spread evenly on a baking sheet; roast for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve as an appetizer on toothpicks or as a side dish.

Steam until tender; drain and coat with butter. Toss in seasoned bread crumbs and cheese; broil until brown for breaded Brussels sprouts.

Oven roasted Brussels sprouts (per Green Giant): In a bowl, toss to coat 1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved, in 2 Tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper. Place on a baking sheet. Roast at 400F for 25-35 minutes or until nicely browned and tender. Serve and enjoy!

How to preserve Brussels sprouts
When obtained really fresh, they can keep for up to a few weeks in the refrigerator. Store unwashed in plastic bag (in refrigerator).

The sprouts can be frozen. Blanch for 3 to 5 minutes (depending on size); chill quickly, package and freeze in labeled freezer bags right away. They will keep about 18 months in the freezer.

Herbs/spices that go well with Brussels sprouts
Basil, bay leaf, parsley, rosemary, thyme, caraway seeds, black pepper, garlic, ginger, mustard, nutmeg

Combos: Vinegar or lemon juice with marjoram, or with mustard and oregano or caraway seeds

Other foods that go well with Brussels sprouts
Produce: apples, capers, artichokes, bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celery root, fennel, endive, kale, mushrooms, onion, orange, potatoes, and shallots

Dairy: butter, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese

Other: almonds, bacon, cashews, pecans, walnuts, white wine, soy sauce, sesame seeds, pine nuts, pistachios, vinegar, olive oil.

Recipe links
Judi in the Kitchen video, Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts …

Judi in the Kitchen video, Cook Brussels Sprouts Without Bitterness …

Assorted recipes and other information …

Shredded Brussels sprouts with bacon, cranberries and pecans (can leave out the bacon if desired and use oil of choice)…

Warm Brussels sprouts salad …

Tangy Brussels sprouts slaw…

Bacon and Brussels sprouts salad …

Oven roasted Brussels sprouts with cauliflower…

Roasted Brussels Sprouts…

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