Developed in Belgium (some say in the 1200’s) Brussel Sprouts belong to the Cruciferae or Mustard family, so known because of a four-part flower in the shape of a cross. I love ‘em. But I hate mustard. (Note to self: investigate connection between mustard and Brussel Sprouts.)
- Things you may not know. (AKA: Things you may not care about)
- The intensive cultivation of cutting all the little cabbages off the stem earned locals the nickname of Kuulkappers, or “cabbage cutters.”
- Belgians say that eating Brussels sprouts at the beginning of a meal keeps you from getting drunk!
- Germans call them Rosenkohle (rose cabbages)
- Canada got Brussel Sprouts in 1905 – monks brought them to New Brunswick.
- Nutritional values per 100 g = Calories: 34.4; carbohydrates: 3.5 g; fat: 0.5 g; water: 85 g; protein: 4 g; fiber: 4.3 g.
- Rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, vitamins B, C and E, beta-carotene and folic acid.
- Love this Martha Stewart-type tip from The Worldwide Gourmet: 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 a cool place for several weeks. Basement?
- Brussels sprouts freeze well if blanched first in boiling water for 3 or 4 minutes.
- Brussels sprouts are never eaten raw.
Okay, so where is this going?
I love Brussel Sprouts, but they’re complex. Lots of layers. Hard to pick, hard to clean. But worth all the work (if you ask me). Sometimes, they can make a beautiful centerpiece. And sometimes, the house stinks for a few hours or more. You can’t take them at face value (eat them raw) but if you nurture them and cook them right, they’re a lovely delicacy.
A stretch, you say?
But maybe not.