Botanists believe that Brussels sprouts originated from a natural mutation of Flanders kale and are named after Brussels, Belgium. Because it is named after the city in Belgium, the official name is Brussels sprout. Despite that, most of us use the phrase Brussel sprouts. It is also documented that Thomas Jefferson purchased this vegetable in the United States in 1812.
Brussels sprouts are a member of a very nutrient-dense family of cruciferous vegetables. The main source of their health benefits is a group of compounds called glucosinolates, which are well-researched for their cancer-fighting abilities and are also responsible for their strong flavor. The more glucosinolates in the vegetable, the more bitter the taste. Brussels sprouts have the most glucosinolates and are a healthy part of any diet. Read more about other cruciferous vegetables here and here.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Bacon
- 1 Stock or bunch of Brussels sprouts
- Sliced bacon (optional)
- Brussels sprouts grow in long stalks and mature in late fall and winter. They can be purchased still attached to the stalks, sold in individual pieces or in bunches, sold in small plastic mesh bags, or frozen.
- With a sharp knife, cut off each sprout.
- Peel off any brown or wilted outer leaves and cut the head in half.
- One way to prepare Brussels sprouts is to steam them. This is the quickest method and the way my husband likes to cook them. Use a steaming basket with a tight-fitting lid and steam until medium soft.
- If using bacon, choose quality bacon without nitrates and cut them into pieces.
- Cast iron works best for roasting Brussels sprouts. First, let the bacon render a little bit to coat the cast iron, and add the sliced Brussels sprouts.
- Cover the Brussels sprouts with a firm-fitting lid, and let them cook. When they begin to brown a little, occasionally stir to prevent burning. When they are soft enough but not too mushy, turn the heat off. The residual heat from the cast iron will finish them up.
- Tips:Cooking in cast iron pots adds iron to food. See references below.
Eat your vegetables by Arthur Potts Dawson
Call Number: 641.65 DAWSON
Publication Date: 2012
Vegetables unleashed: a cookbook by José Andrés, Matt Goulding, Peter Frank Edwards
Call Number: 641.65 ANDRES
Publication Date: 2019
The everyday gourmet. Cooking with vegetables [videorecording] by William M. Briwa, Teaching Company Culinary Institute of America
Call Number: 641.65 BRIWA
Publication Date: 2016
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