Brussels Sprouts

From University of Illinois Extension:

Nutritional Value & Health Benefits

Unlike most green vegetables, Brussels sprouts are rather high in protein. Although the protein is incomplete—lacking the full spectrum of essential amino acids—a serving of whole grains will make them complete. As a member of the cabbage family Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable. Current research suggests vegetables in this group offer protection against some forms of cancer.

Nutrition Facts
(1/2 cup cooked)
Calories 30
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrates 7 grams
Dietary Fiber 2 grams
Potassium 247 mg
Vitamin C 48 mg
Folate 47 mcg
Vitamin A 561 IU

Selection & Storage

Brussels sprouts, what an odd name for a vegetable that has the appearance of a “cute little baby” cabbage. No one seems to know where Brussels sprouts originated but it is assumed they came from Belgium where Brussels is the capital city. In parts of Europe they are also known as “Brussels cabbage”, which seems appropriate since they are a subspecies of the common cabbage.

Most Americans who do not like Brussels sprouts are haunted by childhood memories of smelly, army green, bitter, mushy globs that had to be eaten before dessert. Fresh Brussels sprouts, properly cooked, are deliciously delicate in flavor. Maybe it is time to give Brussels sprouts another chance, this time with a new attitude and a modern cooking spirit.

The fresher the sprouts, the better the flavor, so refrigerator storage should not exceed a day or two. Remove any damaged or irregular outer leaves and store fresh unwashed sprouts in plastic bags in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator.

Preparation & Serving

The key to cooking Brussels sprouts is in not overcooking them. The leaves cook faster than the core, so cut an X in the bottom of the stem for even cooking when cooking the sprouts whole. As a rule, when Brussels sprouts have lost the bright green color, they are overcooked and have lost a considerable amount of nutritional value as well. Depending on size, cooking time should not exceed 7 to 10 minutes whether you are steaming, braising or boiling. Select sprouts of even size for uniform cooking. Large sprouts should be cut in half.

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