Produce Pick of the Week: Brussels sprouts!
It feels like everyone I have been talking to lately are RAVING about Brussels sprouts! Which honestly, is a little shocking, since I get the ‘ew’ face anytime I try to serve them at home. But I personally love this little nutrient powerhouse like crazy! Not only do they have amazing health benefits but are so versatile in the kitchen. First of all, did you know they actually grow in bunches of 20 to 40 and get their name from being discovered in Brussels, Belgium? In the United States they are mostly grown in California and are found in stores still on the stem or oftentimes separated. But what about the nutritional quality of these cute little mini cabbages?
Brussels sprouts were actually developed from wild cabbage and therefore are very similar to other veggies in the cruciferous family like broccoli. They are wonderful sources of vitamin C, K, beta-carotene (vitamin A), and folic acid. Additionally they are rich in B6, fiber, potassium, thiamine, and those good ol’ cancer-fighting phytochemicals glucosinolates. A recent study from the Netherlands found that when compared to a group of men eating a diet without cruciferous vegetables, a group of men who ate Brussels sprouts daily had a significant decrease in DNA damage. Additionally, the high fiber content of these little guys are a great way to regulate bowel movements, prevent colon cancer, and control appetite.
When you are picking Brussels sprouts up at the store, make sure they are firm and fresh with a beautiful sage green color maybe even with a red hue. Luckily for me, Brussels sprouts are available year round but have their peak from fall to early spring. Now to cook them, don’t be intimidated!
Brussels sprouts can be extremely easy to prepare and cook. Before you cook them, make sure to rinse them in water to get out any unwanted dirt or bugs hiding int he inner leaves. Then you can simply lightly steam them whole for five to seven minutes and top with your favorite seasoning. My favorite way to prepare them is by roasting, I love the way the outer leaves get a little blackened and crispy. To do this, cut the sprouts in half and toss them with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, a little lemon juice, and an herb of your choice. Roast them in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes and you are G2G. Enjoy this crunchy and flavorful dish, while giving your body those healing nutrients it needs!