Brussels sprouts

Brussels sproutsSo I’ve been getting all angsty about my Brussels sprouts Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera. It turns out I planted them at the wrong time – curse you garden stores with attractive looking punnets. Apparently, I should be planting them now instead of 3 months ago.

Second thing I got wrong – they require a much firmer soil then the bed they are in right now. Well-limed, well-drained, well-firmed is the advice I’ve just received on the topic. Apparently, they’re a bit fussy. But I reckon these babies are going to be sooo worth it.

I realise this can be a very contentious issue. They are one of the least liked vegetables. But I think Brussels sprouts have just had really bad press. They’re delicious when grown well and cooked properly, with a really nice nutty flavour.

More on the joys of Brussels sprouting with recipes and nutritional info after the jump…



Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable so closely related to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard etc etc. Crucifers, named after the cross-shape of their 4-petalled flowers, are among the best all-round nutrition boosters.

Health benefits of the humble Brussels sprouts include:

  • Strong link to a lower risk of cancer
  • Can help in avoidance of heart disease and strokes
  • May cut the risk of cataracts
  • Highly nutritious
  • Very high in antioxidants (These can be lost in cooking)
  • Unlike many green vegetables, they contain protein (incomplete, eat grain to supplement)
  • Counters anaemia and the risk of spina bifida – Brussels sprouts are particularly rich in folate.
  • Can help avoid and regulate blood pressure due to high potassium levels

Cooking Brussels sprouts

First up, remove any loose or discoloured leaves. Wash the little sprouts well, trim the stem ends and cut a cross into the stem to help speed up cooking.

Cook in a big pot with lots of boiling, salted water. You want the sprouts to float as you cook them. it should take 7 – 10 minutes depending on size. Never cook them for more then 10 minutes – they’ll release a sulfur compound that tastes yuckkkk.They will be cooked when you can just pierce them with a small sharp knife. Drain thoroughly.

Serve the lovely little green things hot with butter and pepper. Maybe throw in some herbs.

You can also pull the leaves off and throw them into a salad.

My personal favourite thing to do is to cook about 4 shallots and 4 cloves of garlic in about 2 tablespoons of butter over a medium heat. I finely cut up the sprouts and throw them in for 5 minutes until they’re soft. Season, add some parsley or thyme, a bit of lemon zest and then tumble them in a little olive oil.

The art of baking vegetables and smothering them with cheese…mmmmmm…

600g of prep’d and ready Brussels sprouts

salt and pepper to taste

freshly-grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons cream

60g grated cheese

2 tablespoons of butter

Cook the sprouts in boiling, salted water until just tender. drain. Place in a greased ovenproof dish. Season and add cream. Sprinkle cheese over the top and dot with butter. Bake at 180°Cfor 15 – 20 minutes until heated through and the cheese is all bubbly and golden.


An expert guide to how to grow Brussels sprouts

I guess if you really can’t stand the idea of eating them, you could always make them into a wreath.


4 Responses to “Brussels sprouts”

  1. November 29, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    I love Brussels sprouts, and I never would’ve thought to even attempt to grow them!

  2. 2 loveplantlife
    November 29, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Isn’t it funny how you eat something and love it and just completely don’t think where it comes from? I want to make an attempt at chickpeas and lentils this year for that reason. i guess I just forget they are a vegetable because I get them dried from my cupboard.

    Thanks for your comment Marafaye – I hope this inspires you to get out there and get planting :)

  3. 3 octimedia
    December 4, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    There’s another great brussels sprout recipe here

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