Brussels sprouts may have had a bad reputation in the past, but they're making a major comeback. Newer varieties are sweeter eating and are at their best between March and September.
Brussels sprouts are grown in temperate climates in Australia across five states:
QLD: Fassifern Valley, Locker Valley, Stanthorpe
VIC: Melbourne, metropolitan area
TAS: North west
SA: Adelaide Hills and Mt Baker
WA: Perth, metropolitan outer areas
WHAT’S THE APPEAL?
Brussels sprouts pack a punch when it comes to nutrition, supplying dietary fibre, potassium and a range of vitamins (A, C, E, B1, B2, B6, folate and pantothenic acid).
More than a side dish, Brussels sprouts can add colour, depth of flavour and texture, they are relished when cooked well and embellished with spices, herbs and flavourings. Sprouts are wonderfully versatile and with a quick steam, pan-fry, stir-fry, roast or boil, they’re far from lacklustre.
Team Brussels sprouts with bacon, prosciutto, ham, pancetta or a spicy sausage bacon; hazelnuts; olive oil; butter; cranberries; chestnuts; tomato; pasta; chestnuts; tahini; lentils; rice; cheeses; pumpkin; garlic; balsamic vinegar; citrus; sage; maple syrup; sesame; and spicy Asian flavours.
- Cut in half and steam, then toss through sauted chorizo and crispy breadcrumbs
- Cut into wedges, saut with sliced leeks and toss with roasted and peeled chestnuts
- Shred Brussel sprouts in a food processor, and then pan-fry with garlic, Worchester sauce and fresh sage
- Separate leaves from each Brussel sprout, place on a tray, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with flaked salt then roast in a hot oven until leaves are crisp
- Finely slice Brussels sprouts and add to a risotto with peas and provolone cheese
- Team shredded Brussels sprout with citrus segments and toasted walnuts or pine nuts for a salad
- Slice sprouts and add to a pasta dishes just before serving
- Add chopped Brussel sprouts to chicken and leek pies
- Serve steamed whole Brussels sprouts, tossed in sesame oil, soy sauce and garlic
- Brussel sprouts can be substituted for cabbage in soups and coleslaws
Brussel sprouts deteriorate quickly if not stored at the optimum temperature. Store sprouts in their original packaging in the cool room at 0o and 90-100 percent humidity. For maximum quality, use within three to four days.
Trim the base and leave whole, halve, quarter, shred or separate the small leaves. If cooking whole, cut a cross in the base of each sprout to ensure faster and more even cooking.
LOOK OUT FOR:
Tightly-closed Brussels sprouts that are small to medium in size. The most tender and sweetest sprouts are 2cm-3.5 cm in diameter with bright green crisp compact leaves. They should have a pleasant, fresh aroma.
The golden rule it to not overcook this veggie. It’s best to cook Brussels sprouts rapidly so they retain their colour, flavour and beneficial nutrients.
Credit: Sue Dodd, fresh product consultant at Sydney Markets