Friday 2 May 2014

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are an European vegetable from Brussels, hence the name.  It dates as far back as the 13th century during the Roman Empire, however cultivation started in the 16th century around the area of what is present day Belgium. Brussel Sprouts continue to be most popular in Belgium and Germany. They are from the cabbage family and look like mini green cabbages, grown on tall stalks, in large fields mostly in cold climate countries of Europe, Canada and North America. Apparently the best crop is the one that grows immediately after a frost as it is the sweetest. 

It is best cooked cut in half and pan fried in a bit of salted butter or olive oil. Bacon and onions go great with sprouts, as does a sweet flavoured mustard, such as honey or orange. To absorb its full health potential it is best to cook these in a flash and not boiled to a mush.  Cut them into halves or quarters, let them rest for a couple of minutes. Heat a pan, allowing the cut vegetable to 'rest' before  browning them quickly. Or simply steam them for 3 minutes. Roasting them in the oven is an option too.

Like most vegetables and greens this has a health benefit of vitamins and minerals with a high potency of Vitamin K and C, however only when they are not overcooked!  

Brussel sprouts are also an excellent source of fibre, and are known to remove toxins from the body and help to prevent certain forms of cancer. 
The sprouts start to emit a smell when cooked which enhances as the vegetable gets overcooked a sure sign to get them off that stove! It also tends to release a bitterness once it crosses the correct cooking time.

But food is your body's nutrition and while one can easily pop a pill and up the levels of a vitamin, eating a well balanced diet keeps our body and mind in top shape. Surely a small price to pay?

Brussel Sprouts freshly displayed on my trip to Lawrence Market last saturday.

On the stalk

definitely looks like a mini cabbage.

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