SIMPLY ESSENTIAL: Brussels Sprouts

Registered Dietitian Ellie Kempton outlines how to use and store Brussels Sprouts. Ellie Kempton also outlines how important Brussels can be for wellness and heart health.

HISTORY + WHY WE LOVE THEM

Once considered a delicacy in Belgium, Brussels sprouts are packed with antioxidants that can help fight the cell-damage done by free radicals- reducing the risk for some cancers AND helping detoxify the body. Clocking in at 56 calories per cup, Brussels sprouts house a HUGE amount of Vitamin C [think 4 times that of an orange], which can boost the body’s immune response and give your skin a healthy glow.

In the following weeks we will be sharing opportunities to use Brussels sprouts to aid in heart health. We will describe the benefits [in more detail] of Brussels sprouts, and finally we will share tasty recipes to make incorporating Brussels sprouts easy and exciting, stay tuned!!

DESCRIPTION:

Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable, kin to both broccoli and cabbage. They even resemble mini cabbage plants! They grow in “bunches,” roughly 20-40 per stalk, on a stalk that can grow up to 3 feet tall. When hunting for Brussels sprouts in the grocery store you may find them sold separately or still attached to the stem. While they are believed to have originated in Belgium, in the United States the majority of Brussels sprouts are grown in California. Brussels sprouts are considered “in season” from autumn until spring [September – April]; however, they are generally available in the grocery store year round.

HOW TO SELECT + STORE BRUSSELS:

When searching for the perfect Brussels sprouts to fill your plate choose sprouts that are a rich green color, firm to the touch, and compact.

Things to avoid when choosing Brussels sprouts:

  1. Yellowing leaves
  2. Wilted leaves
  3. Perforated leaves

Maintain freshness in these [TWO] ways:

First, if you plan to cook your Brussels sprouts in the next week or two [and we hope you will!], it’s best to keep the untrimmed/unwashed greens in the veggie compartment in your refrigerator. If stored in a plastic bag they can survive there for up to 10 days!

Second, you may choose to save your Brussels sprouts for a later date by freezing them. If you choose to go this route, steam your Brussels sprouts for roughly 3 to 4 minutes prior to freezing them. By doing this, your sprouts can last up to one year in the freezer. But we have to tell you, we will be sharing exciting recipes for Brussels sprouts soon that will make it extremely difficult to save these delightful green veggies for that long!

USES:

Brussels sprouts are a fantastic way to fill half of your plate with veggies. While steaming Brussels sprouts is the best way to maintain the nutritional profile of these healthy greens they can be cooked and enjoyed in many different ways!

PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING: 

Often we eat our meals so quickly that we never actually experience the act of enjoying and savoring our food choices. Practicing mindful eating can allow you to slow down, experience the senses that are involved with each meal [think sound + texture + flavor profiles], and can also reduce the risk for overeating.

As you are chewing your Brussels sprouts, listen to them crunch gently. Brussels sprouts offer both a soft velvety texture along with a tougher outer layer. Allow yourself to appreciate both as you savor your sprouts. Slow down to notice the rich sweetness combined with just a hint of bitterness in the flavor profile. Roasting can enhance this sweetness even further.

 

*The World’s Healthiest Foods. Brussels Sprouts. View Here

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