”What do you think this is?” I ask the kindergarten & first grade students at the Richardson Elementary School in Perth Amboy revealing a large stalk of Brussels sprouts. “It’s a type of vegetable. We cook & eat these small parts.” explaining as I break the small green balls off and hand them to the children.
After they have smelled them, peeled off some leaves & bounced & rolled the vegetables on their desks, I ask “What does it smell like?” “Does it have leaves?” “What do you think it is?”
Most of the children respond “It’s a salad.” “They are hard green fruits.” “It’s broccoli.” Finally one first grader responds “They are baby cabbages”. Only one child identified the vegetable correctly. “It’s Brussels sprouts!” When I asked how he knew, he replied, “I saw it on a cooking show on TV.” Pretty sophisticated viewing for a first grader!
If you’ve never seen or eaten Brussels sprouts on a stalk, you are missing out on a beautiful & healthy treat. Most people only see this cruciferous (cabbage-like) vegetable packed in small containers covered with cellophane. Brussels sprouts on the stalk taste much better.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy. A review of research published in Journal of the American Dietetic Association (10/1996) showed that 70% + studies found a link between cruciferous vegetables and protection against cancer.
Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin E and vitamin B-1. Both broccoli and Brussels sprouts have lots of plant omega-3 fatty acids. A cup of broccoli has about 200 milligrams omega-3 and a cup of Brussels sprouts about 260 milligrams.
I think Brussels sprouts taste best lightly steamed so that they retain their bright green color. I don’t think they need anything on them so I eat mine plain. They smell a lot like cabbage when cooked. If you over cook Brussels sprouts, they smell pretty potent like sulfur & don’t taste good mushy. Braised with a little olive oil & garlic is tasty but I usually don’t want to go through the extra work. A stalk of Brussels sprouts can stay for a long time in the refrigerator plus it is fun to break off these “baby cabbage heads” as you use them.