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Brussels sprouts – either you love them or you hate them

Brussels sprouts divide families. Some people just love them, in other people the sight of the small green lumps sitting on their plate stirs unpleasant childhood memories. But maybe just cooking and serving them differently could overcome this dislike.

New ideas for serving sprouts

Brussels sprouts addicts eager to get the real flavour will love sprouts blanched briefly, then simmered in butter and seasoned with salt, pepper and just a hint of nutmeg. A dish of sprouts pureed with cream cheese served with potatoes topped with toasted sesame seeds is very good. Or try a warm winter salad of brussels sprouts, walnuts and cranberries. For a flavoursome pasta sauce, combine sprouts (shredded or quartered) with parsley pesto and capers. You can turn them into a creamy soup or add them to a spicy curry. Prepare spouts by washing them and removing any unsightly outer leaves. If you’re going to serve them whole, you need to make a crossways cut in the base of the stalk – it helps them to cook evenly. Spices such as caraway, aniseed or fennel can make brussels sprouts easier to digest, while a pinch of sugar or some bouillon in the cooking water makes them taste less ‘cabbagey’.

Brassicas are good for you!

Tradition has it that the sprouts were first grown widely in the market gardens around Brussels in Belgium. In the 19th century they began to be cultivated in neighbouring countries. The florets are formed as compact, walnut-sized buds in the leafy stems. Compared to other varieties of cabbage, brussels sprouts have all the health benefits of other brassicas and they are slightly more nutritious with a higher content of fat, protein and sugar. In addition to dietary fibre, they supply folic acid, vitamin C and B1 (thiamine), magnesium and potassium. Plus they are ultra-low calorie with a mere 36 kilocalories per 100 g.

Shopping for brussels sprouts

This is a winter vegetable, in the shops from autumn through to about March. A dose of frost produces the best flavour, making the sprouts sweeter and easier to digest. When shopping, choose firm, tightly closed heads. They should be light to dark green and free of wilting or yellowing leaves. Fresh sprouts can be stored in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for several days.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.bzfe.de