Brussels Sprout
Brussels Sprout
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Other Names

Brassica capitata polycephalos

French: Chou de Bruxelles


Origin: A variety of cabbage developed in Belgium

Etymology: see below 
Cruciferae family
General Information
On a solid, wide central axis grow heads of 20 to 75 tightly-closed sprouts, only 1 1/4” in diameter, nestled among the base of the leaves.
There’s a tasty story of economy behind these miniature cabbages. About 1550, in the town of St. Filles, then called Obbrussel, market gardeners began growing cabbages to feed the rapidly growing population of Brussels. One hundred years later, in an effort to make the most profit from the available arable land, Brussels sprouts were developed, a little head-like bud that grew in great number all along the stem. This intensive cultivation earned locals the nickname of Kuulkappers, or “cabbage cutters.”
Belgians claim that if you take the time to eat Brussels sprouts at the beginning of a meal, you’ll avoid getting drunk! Germans call them Rosenkohle (rose cabbages), a poetic allusion to their rosebud-like appearance.
Brussels sprouts immigrated to Canada in 1905, cultivated by Belgian Trappist monks who had settled in Rogersville, New Brunswick… now the site of the world’s only Brussels sprout festival, held each year!  

Look for firm, tightly-closed heads with green unwithered leaves. The base end discolors quickly after harvesting and will often be slightly yellowish-brown but should not be dark. Fresh sprouts have no odor or just a delicate scent. Choose small, evenly-sized sprouts for ease of cooking.
In the fall, you can buy whole stems of Brussels sprouts at the market that make a great centerpiece for a dinner party when presented whole on a platter. (Cook whole and glaze with butter.)
You can keep unwashed sprouts in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator for several days or in a cool place for several weeks.
Brussels sprouts freeze well if blanched first in boiling water for 3 or 4 minutes.
First of all, be aware that Brussels sprouts are never eaten raw.
Trim the stem ends, leaving just enough to hold the leaves together. Remove any dry, brown, wilted or spoiled leaves as necessary. Make a cross-shaped incision in each stem end. 
To make Brussels sprouts more digestible, proceed as for regular cabbage: blanch in lightly salted water for about 4 minutes. Then simmer in fresh water with a bouillon cube for 10-15 minutes or, better yet, steam them to retain all their nutritional properties. Toss gently with melted butter and serve as a side dish. 
Cook until tender, but do not overcook: otherwise they become bland and mushy.
Serve immediately - the flavor suffers if the sprouts are kept warm for long.
When prepared with a little care, sprouts are a wonderfully satisfying vegetable with a delicious, fresh, green flavor and just the right amount of crunch. They can be served simply as a side vegetable (perhaps with some chopped chestnuts or a sprinkling of sesame seeds), added to casseroles or sliced and stir-fried (try them with beef and oyster sauce).
A good accompaniment to roast pork; excellent paired with nutmeg, onion or butter.
Country-style Brussels sprouts
Sauté a handful of bacon bits in a skillet; add a small minced onion and let color slightly. Add Brussels sprouts that have been three-quarters cooked and well-drained; sauté for a few minutes; season with salt and pepper and serve. 
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