Are you a brussels sprouts lover or hater? They”re a fairly new addition to my families table because I didn”t really grow up eating them and always thought I wouldn”t like them. James, however loves brussels sprouts so I wanted to give them a try. And, I”m glad I did because we all love them. They”re the first thing Max gobbles up off his plate and he always reaches out for more “pease”.
I believe many people dislike brussels sprouts because they were overcooked or not fresh when the had them, as these are the main causes for them to become bitter, sour and strong in flavour. Hopefully if you”re a hater this post will help you give sprouts a second change. And, if you”re a lover then hopefully you”ll learn something new or get inspired by the recipes below.
All About Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are in season from from September to February.
Look for sprouts that are bright green with firm, dense heads and are blemish free. Avoid any with loose, yellowing leaves, that are puffy and soft, or have a dull appearance. The greener they are the better the flavour.
Smaller sprouts have a sweet taste and are more tender, therefore they”re more preferable than larger heads. If possible, choose brussels sprouts that are similar in size. This will help them to cook more evenly.
Store in the fridge in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to 3 days. After 3 or 4 days a strong, unpleasant flavour may develop and they will have a strong cabbage-like odour.
Do not wash or trim ends before storing, although any yellow or wilted leaves are best removed so that they don”t cause the others to turn more quickly.
Avoid overcooking brussels sprouts as it will result in the sulphurous smell that turns so many people off of them. If you haven”t liked brussels sprouts for this reason give them another chance and make sure they”re cooked properly. How can you ensure that they”re cooked just right? Here are some tips:
- Remove any loose, wilted or blemished outer leaves. Rinse in cold water. Trim the stem ends slightly, but not too much or the leaves will fall off while cooking.
- If cooking whole, score the ends with an “x” which will help the leaves and stem to cook more evenly. Otherwise cut in half lengthwise. (If you have a mixture of small and large heads, cut the large ones in half and leave the small ones whole.)
- Cook just until crisp tender. Usually about 5-10 minutes when boiling or steaming, 10 minutes when stir-frying and 35-40 minutes (@400ºF) when roasting. The sprouts should remain green in color, any drab looking sprouts have been overcooked.
- You know a sprout is cooked properly when you can easily stick a fork into the stem end.
If you are boiling make sure to use lot”s of cooking water, this will help to reduce the strong and pungent flavour.
Brussels sprouts are:
- rich in vitamin C
- a good source of folate, vitimin E and beta-carotene
- contain iron
- believed to have potent anti-cancer properties
As with all vegetables, boiling reduces nutrient intake because they leach from the sprouts into the water. Steaming, roasting and stir-frying will keep more of the nutrients in the sprouts.
“..a favorite dish that highlights this autumn vegetable, plus several more suggestions to inspire you to add brussels sprouts to your menus this week.”
“..it only takes a quick blanching and an equally fast stir fry with some formidable flavors to make you forget all that trauma when you were a kid, the kind that made you grateful when spinach,of all things, was on the dinner menu instead.”
“Caramelized brussels sprouts are delicious, especially if you get the teeny-tiny ones, and if you are sure to anoint them liberally with lemon juice and parmesan cheese when you take them out of the oven.”
“I never knew that bacon would compliment the sprouts so well and I think the shallots really rounded out the flavors.”
“Roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar are the perfect holiday side dish. They are so easy to make. All you have to do is toss the sprouts in a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. The oven will do the rest of the work.”
“They were quite a bit better than any I’ve tried in the past and I’m actually craving the small bowl of leftovers in the fridge and thinking about variations for next time.”
“The dish features olive flavor in three forms: chopped kalamatas, kalamata brine and olive oil. So, it’s totally super olive-y. The creamy, salty feta and tender, sweet roasted red peppers are a lovely complement to the slightly sweet roasted Brussels sprouts. And the bacon, it finishes it off perfectly.”
“Chef Todd at Checkers Restaurant at the Hilton Los Angeles created a Cranberry Pistachio Pesto that has all the flavor elements – sweet, salty, tangy – to pair so well with the slightly bitter profile of brussels sprouts.”
That’s it for this months roundup. Feel free to link to your own brussels sprouts posts or share your thoughts and tips in the comments section.
The next In Season roundup will be Cranberries. You can email or tweet me your posts and/or tips all the way until December 16th. Feel free to pull from the archives, or send me your new posts as you make them!