Bumper Brussels

They were the most disliked vegetable in our kids’ summer challenge, but Brussels sprouts are back with a vengeance this year. Sprouts are one of the most challenging crops to grow organically; in fact we have given up trying on our farm. Ours come from Anthony Coker, one of our local co-op growers, and Organic Dan in Lancashire. This year the growing season has been kind and they are expecting bumper yields. A good spring helped to get the crop established and then a fair bit of luck and good management helped to avoid the cabbage aphid and white fly pests (sprouts are often more popular with pests than they are with people). Now, thanks to mild temperatures and just the right amount of rain, this year’s crop is looking and tasting fantastic – and is even a few weeks early. They will be in the boxes in the run up to Christmas, some looking dramatic on the stalk, and others loose and ready to go.

If you have never seen a field of sprouts, it is a pretty impressive sight, like a sweep of mini Christmas trees decorated with vibrant green baubles. Unlike most conventionally grown sprouts, ours are selected and picked by hand; backbreaking work for the teams out in the fields. So even if you’re one of the haters, you can take solace from the fact that you’re not growing or picking them.

In the kitchen, think of sprouts as mini cabbages (or at least use that as a ploy to get kids to eat them), so flavours that complement cabbages, like caraway, bacon and nuts, will work well. Cook sprouts as quickly as you can; it’s important to catch them before they become unappealingly soggy. To help them keep their crunch, try them in stir fries, or even shred very fresh sprouts with toasted sesame seeds and soy sauce for a quick Asian-style salad.

order sprouts from Riverford

4 responses to “Bumper Brussels

  1. I cook them as slowly as I can! Cut in half, face down in a pan until they the cut side caramelises. Tossed with a copious amount of Parmesan they are quite edible!

  2. My aunt used to disguise them by using them in bubble and squeak, which always struck me as a complete waste because they’re one of my favourite vegetables! I steam mine, which is probably healthier than boiling, and I think makes it easier not to overcook them.

  3. Going With My Gut

    Cool. Looking forward to them, and using them for Thanksgiving dinner this year. I wasn’t much of a fan until I tried them half-steamed, then grilled on a hot pan till they caramelised a touch. That changed everything!

    Wen

  4. Ali at Green Baby

    ok, ok, so I make my kids eat them (they honestly like them!!) so I hereby make a pledge to give them a go *again* this year…. aesthetically at least, they ARE quite beautiful….and the more organic the better. clearly.
    Ali x

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