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March 6, 2012

Brussels sprouts – come on, give them a try

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Hands up who love little baby cabbages.

 Whenever I ask this question at any one of my talks, not many people put up their hands.

I’ll admit it,  never used to like them either.

My mother cooked the living daylights out of Brussels sprouts just like her mother. Gran used to say, “Alright, dinner is at 5:00 pm, the roast went in at 12:00 pm, its 1:00 pm, let’s start the sprouts.” Seriously, cooked for hours, they were grey greenish blobs of what was once a vibrant green plant, sitting on your plate in a complete lifeless heap.

During my fourth year of university, in the Winter Vegetable lab, we cooked up the wee sprouts. To my shock and amazement the Smith Family Food of Death was in fact a flavourful vibrant semi firm green orb. Who knew they didn’t taste like sulphur? Not me, or anyone else in my extended family, well at least on my mom’s side.

So I became a born again Brussels sprout eater. And like any good reformed individual I have made it my life’s mission to convince anyone who will listen, how great they are.

Why that are good for you

Brussels sprouts belong to the cruciferous family of vegetbles, along with broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, rutabaga, and turnips.

They all contain antioxidants that are cancer fighters.

Eating any one of them has been linked to reducing your chances of developing cancer of the lung, prostate, stomach, colon, breast and ovaries. Not only do they block the enzymes in your body that are involved in the initial stages of cancer development, they detoxify cancer-causing compounds in your body. Pretty darned amazing for something you can buy in the produce department.

So if you are a Brussels sprouts lover please stand up and order up a side dish, the rest of you? Eat your broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, rutabaga, and turnips and know that you’re still fighting the good fight.

Professional Home Economist Tips:

Choose tiny Brussels, they’ll be sweeter and less cabbagy tasting. They should be firm and a beautiful deep shade of green. For cooking times, try to pick all the same size, that way they will be ready at the same time.

Store in an open bag in your crisper and eat them ASAP – the longer they sit around, the stronger they’ll taste, oh, and the stronger they’ll smell when you cook them.

Cooking them

Remove outer leaves, wash well under cold running water, cut off a tiny bit of the woody bottom and then either:

  • Steam whole. Place in a streamer basket in a pot; add water to just below the bottom of the basket, cook on high heat, and steam for 5-8 minutes or until desired tenderness.
  • Cut in half and stir fry, adding your favourite lower sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • Toss with canola oil, sprinkle with pepper and roast in the 425 F oven, for 15 minutes or until your desired doneness

 

 

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