Brussels sprouts – what comes to mind? I know many people don’t really like or have even tried this vegetable. But perhaps by the end of this article, you may at least give them a try this year.
First of all, did you know Chatham-Kent is one of the top two Brussels sprout producing areas in all of Canada? And did you know all brands of frozen Brussels sprouts including mixed vegetables with sprouts found on grocery shelves in this area which are labelled ‘Product of Canada’ were grown right here in Chatham-Kent? And did you know we have the top two Brussels sprout producers in all of Canada, and most likely two of the top three or four in all of North America? All of this is amazing!
Brussels sprouts were believed to have been cultivated in Italy in Roman times, and possibly as early as the 1200’s in Belgium. The modern Brussels sprout that we are familiar with was first cultivated in large quantities in Belgium (hence the name “Brussels” sprouts) as early as 1587, with their introduction into the U.S. in the 1800’s.
Brussels sprouts are full of nutrients and contain significant amounts of vitamin C. In fact, gram for gram, Brussels sprouts contain nearly fifty percent more vitamin C than an orange. Just four to six Brussels sprouts contain the adult daily requirement for vitamin C.
Like other cruciferous (members of the mustard family) vegetables, Brussels sprouts contain nitrogen compounds called indoles, known for their cancer fighting properties. Brussels sprouts are also a good source of folate, potassium, vitamin K, fibre, and beta carotene.
Nutritional information per serving (4 sprouts): 33 kcal, 7 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 3 g protein, 3 g fibre.
Brussels sprouts grow together in a tight spiral pattern on a thick stalk with a burst of leaves at the top.
While some specialty markets carry Brussels sprouts still on the stalk, you are most likely to find them as individual sprouts, varying in size from an olive to a golf ball. To ensure you are buying the freshest sprouts, look for those that have bright green leaves. Old sprouts will tend to have yellow, wilted leaves and have a strong odour that is similar to cabbage.
Look at the leaves and stem – tiny holes may indicate the presence of worms or plant lice, make sure the stem of the sprout is white and firm.
The secret to good Brussels sprouts is to not overcook them, as overcooked ones have a pungent, sulfurous odour. Properly cooked Brussels sprouts have a crisp, dense texture and a slightly nutty taste.
So go ahead and eat some this year. Just try them again. You deserve it.
Our local producers appreciate your support of buying local and buying fresh. You can’t go wrong with supporting our local agricultural sector.
This article is dedicated to the memory of Rudy Ciarma – one of the kindest Chatham-Kent citizens ever and our biggest Brussels sprouts fan.
Think about this – The true nature of a man is not how many servants he has, but how many people he serves.
Just some food for thought.
Here in Chatham-Kent ‘WE GROW FOR THE WORLD’. Check out our website at www.wegrowfortheworld.com
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 40 years. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’