One of the most popular vegetables served at The Poseidon Del Mar is Brussels Sprouts. We serve this lovely vegetable with our Natural Bone-in Pork Chop, Short Ribs and as an a la carte side-dish sauteed with Pancetta.
This vegetable has a reputation for bitterness, but when properly cooked, sprouts offer complex flavor with a subtle crunch. Legend has it that Brussels sprouts were first grown in Europe, but whether or not it was in the city of Brussels remains unknown. The first official description of them, however, did appear in Belgium in the late 16th century. They made their way to England in the mid-19th century and there gained great popularity.
Today, the British remain the world's top consumers of Brussels sprouts. Not only do we not consume as many, Americans grow six or seven times fewer crops―which are cultivated mostly in California and New York.
HERE IS TO YOUR HEALTH! Like other cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts are full of phytonutrients (natural plant compounds), which may help protect against cancer. They're also a good source of:
- Vitamins A and C: which help fight against heart disease, cancer, and cataracts (one half cup of sprouts provides more than 80% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C)
- Potassium: which helps lower blood pressure and maybe even cholesterol.
- Folate: which is necessary for normal tissue growth and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects.
- Iron: necessary for maintaining red blood cell count.
- Fiber: which aids in digestion and helps lower cholesterol
BEST TIME TO BUY? Although readily available almost year-round, the peak season is from September to mid-February.
SELECTION? The best-tasting, most tender sprouts are only 1 to 11⁄2 inches in diameter—the smaller the head, the sweeter the taste. They should be compact, firm, and green, with minimal nicks and torn or yellowing leaves. Try to choose sprouts of similar size so they’ll cook evenly.
STORING THEM? Remove any damaged or loose outer leaves, and store in a produce bag in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Although they’ll last a couple of weeks, try to cook them as soon as possible; their flavor will start to become unpleasantly strong after three or four days.
GREEN THUMB: A cool-weather vegetable, Brussels sprouts require three months to mature. It’s best to plant in summer for harvest in the fall. They can also be planted in early spring, about a month before the last frost, for harvest in early summer. If summers are very hot where you live, Brussels sprouts can be a difficult vegetable to grow. Because they take so long to mature, buy transplants to save time. Set them in a sunny, well-prepared bed, spacing them about 2 feet apart. Feed them at planting with a dilute solution of liquid fertilizer and again about three weeks later.
These grow unlike any of your cool-season crops, spiraling up the stalk. If you intend to harvest all at once, pinch the tip from the stalk one to two weeks in advance so the heads will mature at the same time. Otherwise, choose 1- to 2-inch sprouts individually as they mature from the bottom up, removing accompanying leaves as you go up the stem.