Brussel Sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemnifera)
Brussels sprouts are immature buds, shaped like their tiny cabbage ancestors. They cluster on the main stem of the plant that they grow on. They were originally cultivated somewhere in the vicinity of--you guessed it--Brussels, Belgium, and are just brimming with good stuff-vegetable protein, carbohydrates, vitamins A and C. They also have the reputation of preventing cancer and lowering low-density lipoprotein.
Brussels Sprouts is considered by some a controversial vegetable that has as many detractors as promoters. We leave the sprouts right on the stem - just break them off, peel off any old leaves off the outside, slit the bottoms with a sharp knife, and steam. These get sweeter as they stay in the field longer.
- Refrigerate unwashed sprouts in a plastic bag.
- Best if used fresh, but sprouts should retain their integrity for up to one week.
For long-term storage, Brussel sprouts may be frozen. Blanch sprouts for 3-5 minutes, rinse in cold water, drain, and pack into an airtight container. Place in freezer.