In Season: Brussels Sprouts

Barbara L. Hansen

My long-term relationship with brussels sprouts has, like so many, had its ups and downs. I remember my mother pulling the glistening round gems out of the oven before dinner, when I would instinctively begin performing my most theatrical "I am a kid so I am not supposed to like these at all" routine. Secretly, though, my mouth was watering and I could hardly wait to sink my teeth into a buttery, tender sprout. Today, I have dropped the dramatics and proudly label myself as an avid brussels sprouts fan. Approaching the peak season of this delicious vegetable, it is time to eat brussels sprouts as often (and with as much pride!) as possible.

Some brussels sprout recipes, tips, and ideas after the jump.

Becoming popular in the early 16th century, brussels sprouts are native to the Brussels region of Belgium, from which they get their name. These brassicas resemble small cabbage heads and grow in a spiral pattern up thick stalks that can range from two to four feet in height. Each stalk typically produces about two pounds with an average yearly yield of 32,000 pounds in the United States alone. Brussels sprouts grow best in cold weather, making them a perfect vegetable for fall.

When you are selecting your brussels sprouts, look for firm and tight heads with a slight tenderness. Make sure that there are no brown spots or wilted leaves on the sprouts. Sadly, brussels sprouts will only last 4-5 days in the refigerator, so you may want to try freezing them if you've got a large haul. Just put about a pound of trimmed and cleaned sprouts in boiling water for 5 minutes, then blanch, drain, dry, and store in freezer bags for up to one year.

Below is a compliation of tasty recipes featuring the delicious and in-season brussels sprout.