A Guide to Fresh Brussel Sprouts
November, 2011 · By Coryanne Ettiene
As a child brussel sprouts graced the table seldom and were always left lingering in isolation while all the popular vegetables fraternised on my Thanksgiving plate…. the pungent green smell, the often swamp hue they adopted and the fact that no one but the ‘old people’ were reaching for them, left me convinced that there was nothing to be gained by looking their way, let alone trying them. Fast forward 20 years and I am joining my husband for our first Christmas together, hosted by his family in Canterbury England and walk right into a kitchen brimming with brussel sprout stalks, knowing that without a doubt I will be piling them on my plate with the enthusiasm of a new bride. As luck would have it, I fell madly in love with the green bobbles that arrived on the table, their crisp green aroma, nutty flavor and slightly bitter bite were roasted with apples, shallots and hazelnuts.
Each fall I look forward to seeing them at my green grocer, and pan frying them with bacon and hazelnuts, a recipe that I am excited to announce has been featured on More Magazine this week.
Buying and storing your sprouts
- Choose a better sprout: Often sold in farmers markets by the stalk, brussel sprouts are also sold with the heads cut from the stalk in vegetable baskets or bags. Look for heads no larger than 1 inch in diameter, compact leaves with dark green heads free from yellow or black spots.
- Store your stalked sprouts: When storing sprouts on the stalk, keep them in a cool dry place, water will speed up the wilting process. If stored well, the stalk and its heads will keep for 2-3 weeks.
- Store your cut sprouts: Once the heads have been cut and removed from the stalk they have a storage life of 4-7 days in the refrigerator. Leave the outer leaves intact and store in a vegetable bag away from moisture.
- Freeze your sprouts: Keep them fresher for longer by storing them in the freezer. Cut the sprouts, blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes, strain and allow to dry before storing them in a freezer safe container. Like all things stored in the freezer, use them before 6 months to ensure they maintain their quality and flavor.
- Prep your sprouts: Before cooking them, rinse the heads, remove the outer leaves, trim the base of the head and place an X at the top (some people do this on the bottom) if you are cooking them whole, or half them if you you cooking them in halves.