Cooking in Season // Brussels Sprouts

When I was a little girl, my mom would make my favorite meal for me on my birthday.  You might be surprised by my request.  It wasn’t pizza, chicken nuggets, spaghetti or any other “normal kid food”.  It was Brussels sprouts!  Now that I’m all grown up, Brussels sprouts are still one of my favorite vegetables.

IMG_3100Brussels sprouts belong to the cabbage family and, in fact, look like little mini cabbages.   They are in season during the winter months so now is a great time to enjoy some especially because those you purchase fresh at the store will be lower cost and higher quality.  Like all vegetables they are low-fat and low in calories.  They are also saturated fat free, very low in sodium, cholesterol free, and a good source of fiber and folate.

To get the best-tasting, most tender Brussels sprouts look for them when they are only 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  They are much sweeter while they are still small.  They should be compact, firm, and green.  Avoid choosing those that have torn or yellowing leaves.

Although they will taste best when consumed within a few days of purchasing, they will last in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.  For best results remove any damaged or loose leaves on the outside of the sprouts and store them in a produce bag in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

When you are ready to cook Brussels sprouts, first wash them, pat dry, and remove any loose leaves.  Next trim the ends to remove any dry or brown parts of the base.  Make a shallow “x” in the sprouts to help the heat penetrate the sprouts more easily.  Click here to see a video showing exactly how to do that.  This way they will cook more evenly.

If you overcook Brussels sprouts they will turn a drab olive green color.  It’s best to cook them for only 10 minutes so they are tender, but still slightly-crisp.  Cooking for a short amount of time will help them stay a bright, vibrant green color.  Short cooking time also creates a more pleasing flavor.  Overcooked Brussels sprouts can taste a bit like rotten eggs!

A really easy way to prepare is to mix the sprouts in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Pour them on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes on 400 degrees until the outsides are crisp and the insides are tender.  You may want to shake the pan, or stir the sprouts around from time to time to ensure they brown evenly.

Click here to check out the Top Ten Ways to Enjoy Brussels Sprouts for even more ideas on preparing.

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Tonight at my house we will be enjoying the recipe below for Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots.  Share with me your favorite way to enjoy Brussels sprouts!

Click the recipe card for a printable version.

Brussels Sprouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Candi

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