These little green beauties have a DREADFUL reputation and we think it’s totally unfair. Why not give them a proper try so you know for yourself? They’re not bad at all – in fact we actually like them a lot in our house. Not convinced? You know the rules of Fab Fun Food Club – you have to at least try them, even if you find they genuinely are not for you. You might be surprised and they are very good for you, well apart from the fact they might make some of you FART (they only seem to do that to the dad in our family…yuck!!!) You have been warned…
What are they?
Brussels sprouts are leafy green, small vegetables that look like mini-cabbages. This is no coincidence as they are in fact related to cabbages. Think of it like a kind of vegetable family with cabbages being the parents and the sprouts being the kids. They are also related to broccoli and cauliflower – the cousins perhaps.
We’re not 100% sure why they have the Brussels bit in their name (Brussels is a city in Belgium if you didn’t know already) but it could be because they originated there or lots are grown there or they are very popular there.
Sprouts grow on stalks and if you look in a good greengrocer or the veg section in a larger supermarket they might sell them like this, although more often they are taken off the stalks and put into net bags. If you can, get your grown-up to buy the ones on stalks at least once as they will usually be fresher.
Clever people who know a lot about food, called nutritionists, often describe sprouts as a ‘super food’ as they are so good for you. They are absolutely jam-packed with nutrients – things you eat that help your body stay healthy. Some of these are vitamins and some are minerals such as iron. You might well have read or been told, for example, that oranges are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Pah to that though – these little sprout guys would totally win in a fight with oranges about how much vit C they have – boasting levels three times higher.
What are they used for?
They are part of a traditional British Christmas lunch but we think they shouldn’t just be kept for Christmas. Enjoy them all year as a side dish/ veg with whatever else you are eating.
Ready to try them?
The good old-fashioned way:
Now the key here is to cook them properly – or to not over-cook them in fact – as then they don’t taste very good and that is probably why some people don’t like them. Boil your sprouts for about 5 to 10 minutes, no more. It’s a case of sticking a fork’s prongs into them and checking that it will go in but that they are not too soft.
One for sprout-haters:
Slice your sprouts finely and stir-fry or pan fry them in a little olive oil for about ten minutes. You can also add garlic or bacon or both. They are quite different to the ‘good old-fashioned boiled sprout’ this way.
Make a meal of them:
If you fancy something different to just a pile of sprouts, how about this yummy recipe for ‘Roasted Sprout Gratin with Bacon and Cheese‘ on the fabulous BBC Food site? It’s a lovely cheesy sprout bake.