Said to have been cultivated in 16th century Belgium, Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family and indeed resemble tiny cabbage heads. Many rows of sprouts grow on a single long stalk. They range from 1" to 1.5" in diameter. The smaller sprouts are more tender.
Plant in a sunny spot with ample water and fertilize once or twice before sprouts develop.
Harvesting from the Winter Garden
Harvest firm sprouts with crisp green leaves from the bottom first. They can be harvested by twisting off or cutting the sprouts from the stem. Store unwashed sprouts in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator up to three days. If you wait longer than that and the sprouts will develop a strong flavor.
The sprouts should all be the same size so they will cook evenly. Yellow leaves and tiny holes can be signs of bugs or worms. If you are worried, choose bright green, compact heads, with clean white stem ends. If your concerned that bugs may have taken up residence, soak the sprouts in a bowl of cold water for about twenty minutes to force them out.
As with cabbage, either cook Brussels sprouts very briefly or braise slowly in the oven. Cook in small amounts of fast boiling water for about three minutes until just tender. To stir fry Brussels sprouts, slice into three or four pieces and then fry in a little oil or butter; they taste great with onions and ginger. Another great way to eat Brussels sprouts is to roll them in olive oil and bake them for about 45 minutes. They should start get crispy on the outside and soft in the center. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and Parmesan cheese on top and they will be delicious.
Brussels sprouts are high in vitamins A and C and are a fair source of iron.
Recipe: Glazed and Crispy Brussels Sprouts
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts – trimmed and halved
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small red onion, sliced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and simmer for 7 minutes. Drain them. About fifteen minutes before dinner, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, red onion, and saute briefly. Add the Brussels sprouts and apple juice.
Cook, strirring occasionally, over high heat until the apple juice has evaporated and the Brussels sprouts are tender, browned and somewhat crispy. Serve hot. Eat more of these than the other creamy, fattening dishes and feel better after.
This recipe is from the website of Kaiser Permanente: Food for Health, Recipes for Life.