Love them or hate them Brussels sprouts are not just for Christmas! These interesting and some believe tasty little veggies have been around for centuries and show no sign of going away.
Some sprouting facts:
– Sprouts developed from wild cabbage in Pakistan and Afghanistan
– Over 5,000 years ago Chinese physicians prescribed sprouts as a cure for many ailments, including bowel problems
– In the 16th century sprouts became very popular in Brussels, hence the name Sprouts were first introduced to England during the 19th century
– Captain Cook made his crew eat sprouts, lemons and oranges to prevent them developing scurvy
– Sprouts are not just green – red and purple varieties are also available
– Sprouts contain high levels of vitamins A and C, folic acid and dietary fibre
– Cook often make a cross in the bottom of the sprout prior to cooking. Some think this aids the cooking whilst others believe the cross will keep the devil out!
Sprouts are well known for producing an unpleasant side effect – flatulence. Along with other brassicas Brussels sprouts contain sulphur as a form of self-defence in that it deters animals from eating them. This sulphur creates the slightly bitter taste that some people love and others simply hate. When we eat the sprouts our bodies struggle to breakdown the chemical compounds and that can lead to the tuneful side effects.
To store sprouts keep them in a paper bag in the fridge and they’ll last about a week. They will keep longer if still attached to their stalk. When it comes to eating them they deserve better than to be turned into hard little bullets pushed to the side of the plate. Shredding or quartering the sprouts works well and they taste wonderful when mixed with flavours such as cumin, ginger, butter, caraway, nuts and bacon. Just remember to make enough so that you have left-overs for bubble and squeak. No Christmas is complete without it.