Healthy Harvest Highlights – Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprout Photo

Healthy Harvest Highlight: Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts are part of the cabbage family.  In the home garden, they are sweetest when picked after a stiff frost.  Their harvesting season, depending upon your area, is autumn through early spring. If you are lucky enough to find them fresh (preferably still on their stalk), grab them, but 80%-85% of the US production is for the frozen food market – not a bad option either.

Looks for bright green leaves (not yellow).  If storing, place in a plastic bag to retain their moisture and use within a few days.  If you are growing them yourself, and freeze your excess – blanch for 3-5 minutes first.  They’ll last in the freezer up to one year.

Health Benefits

Brussels Sprouts are rich in many valuable nutrients and an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. They are low fat; saturated fat free; very low in sodium; cholesterol free; low calorie; and a good source of dietary  fiber.  For more nutritional benefits, click here. Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anticancer properties. For more on their medicinal value, click here.

Preparation

Always remove the first couple layers of leaves and wash well. Cooking brussels sprouts quickly is the key to retaining their sweetness and avoiding that strong smell that many dislike.  I like to cut mine in half or even quarters for quicker cooking.  Brussels can be steamed, stir fried, boiled or roasted.  My favorite is roasting.  Here is one of my favorite recipes.

Check out this site for Top 10 Ways to Cook Brussels Sprouts.

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