A bit about Brussel Sprouts

This past weekend was a fun weekend! Tuesday was as usual, time in the workshop making tray favors for our hospital patients, and then working in the gift shop. The only difference was that both of my window air conditioning units decided to quit working at the same time on Tuesday morning! I had the repairman come out and check the main one, on Wednesday after I got off from work at noon, and of course, it was the condenser. Since the unit was over nine years old, I was sort of expecting that to be the problem. Actually, I was surprised that it had worked as long as it has this summer. My son-in-law went on-line checked the stores in Victoria for me and couldn’t find the type of unit that was needed, (a 220, without a heater), and when the repairman came out, he started making calls and found one for me in a nearby town. My friend and I went and picked it up and he installed it on Friday for me. It works beautifully and my house is comfortable again.
On Saturday, my son and daughter-in-law came down and he brought a small unit to replace the other one that was out. This one only needs to keep my sewing room/spare bedroom cool enough for visitors, so again I’m home free on a cool room. After we had lunch, and he fixed some places that needed tightening on my cyclone fence, we went to the back pasture at my brother’s house and did some target practicing, I always enjoy this. We didn’t have an actual target, but I managed to hit the box we were using. It just takes practice and as the old saying goes: “Practice makes perfect”.
Every magazine I pick up these days seems to have articles and recipes about Brussels Sprouts and how good they are for you. One article I noticed today said, “Forget about the sprouts you knew as a kid, that were cooked to mush and tasted horrible”. Supposedly, they really are good for you and contain numerous vitamins and minerals, and today are cooked almost any way you can imagine other than boiling them!
According to my research on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, they belong to the Gemmifera group of cabbages, which is grown for it edible buds. Brussels sprouts are also in the same family as collard greens, kale (another vegetable that is in every magazine you pick up), broccoli and kohlrabi (a vegetable that Dad brought home for Mother to cook, frequently in the winter time). All of these vegetables belong to the Brassicaceae family and contain Vitamin A, C, folic acid and dietary fibre necessary to our health. They are believed to protect our bodies against colon cancer, because they contain sinigrin.
Due to breeding research in recent years in the Netherlands that focused on compounds called “glucosinolates”, that are found in the sprouts, has resulted in reducing bitterness and added health benefits.
In Continental Europe, the Netherlands produce 82K metric tons and Germany produces 10K tons. England has a production similar to the Netherlands, but do not generally export the sprouts.
In the United States, production began in the 18th century, with French settlers bringing them to Louisiana. It was during the 1920s that they were first planted in California with a large production beginning in the 1940s. At this time, several thousand acres are planted in the coastal areas of Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Monterey, which seem to offer an ideal climate year round. The majority of the production in the United States is in this location with a smaller percentage of the crop being grown in Skagit Valley, Washington and also on Long Island, New York. The total production in the United States is about 32K tons, and over 80% of that is for the frozen food market.
Once you have purchased your Brussels sprouts, cut off the excess stem and peel off any loose leaves, now they are ready to cook by steaming, grilling, stir frying or roasting. Most of the recipes that I’ve seen in magazines have you cutting them in half and cooking on the grill. They look appetizing, and as is stated above, they have been bred to lose some of the taste of cooked cabbage that is usually associated with them.
The Wikipedia article that this information from states that: “Roasting Brussels sprouts is a common way to cook them in large quantities that seems to bring out the flavour that school children can enjoy”. The article also states: “One school district served roasted and pickled Brussels sprouts to 20,000 children who reportedly enjoyed the food during a single day”.
Shredded Gingered Brussels sprouts
1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. minced fresh gingerroot
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp water
¼ tsp. pepper
Trim Brussels sprouts, cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into thin slices.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir sprouts 2-3 minutes or just until lightly browned. Toss with olive oil. Stir in onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Add water; reduce heat to medium and cook, covered 1-2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat; stir in pepper.
Per serving 56 cal., 2g fat, (0g sat. fat), 0mg chol., 214 mg sodium, 8g carb., 3g fiber, 2g pro.
Brussel Sprout Salad
5 cups thinly sliced brussel sprouts
3 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 cup toasted walnut pieces
½ cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut brussel sprouts in half lengthwise and then thinly slice. Add lemon juice, walnut pieces, dried cranberries and ricotta cheese, gently mix together and toss with the olive oil.
Brussel Sprouts with Caraway Seeds
2 lbs. fresh Brussels sprouts
6 tsp. olive oil
1 large sweet onion
6 medium cloves garlic
2 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ cup maple syrup (real maple syrup, not pancake syrup)
3 Tbs. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Trim and halve Brussels sprouts, place steamer basket in a large skillet with 1-inch of water. Place sprouts in basket and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and maintain a simmer; steam, covered until crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and remove from skillet and kept warm. While sprouts are cooking, slice onions and thinly slice garlic cloves. In same skillet, heat oil over medium heat, add onion and cook and stir until tender, (4 to 5 minutes), add sliced garlic, cook 1 minute longer, stir in Brussels sprouts, caraway seeds, thyme, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix together syrup, sherry vinegar and mustard until well combined, pour over sprout mixture and stir until coated. Serve warm.