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Marie Iannotti

Brussels Sprouts are Just Hitting Their Stride.

By November 10, 2012

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There aren't many good things to say about the first frost. There are usually several false alarms, where you run outside in the dark and cover all your tender plants - just in case. Then one morning you wake up and see sad looking brown Celosia and mushy sweet potato vines. I can take a hint, gardening season is over.

But wait. There is a plus to frost. It makes certain vegetables just that much sweeter. You probably know that carrots enjoy a slight chill, but have you let your Brussels sprouts enjoy the wonders of frost?

It doesn't seem like many gardeners grow Brussels sprouts anymore. Of course, it doesn't seem like many people eat Brussels sprouts anymore. They are such an interesting plant, I think it would be easier to get children to try them if they saw how cute they are on the plant. Personally, I prefer my Brussels sprouts almost raw. OK, I have been know to munch on them in the garden.

Brussels Sprouts are a long season crop and although they are a late harvest, they are a relatively long one. Because of their fondness for cool weather, Brussels Sprouts are a fall crop in warmer climates, so there's still time for you folks to start planting. If your garden is done for the season, read how easy it is to grow Brussels sprouts anyway, and think about making some space for them next year. There's even a red variety that you can at least enjoy looking at, if you'd still prefer not to eat them.

Photo: © Marie Iannotti


October 24, 2008 at 7:09 pm
(1) Patty Bailey says:

I grow brussels sprouts mostly for my 17 year son. At the end of the season I can them. I pickle them hot and spicy. The hotter the better for my son. He comes home from school and eats them like candy. I must say we don’t eat them very often raw or cooked. I will always grow them to can for my son though.

October 25, 2008 at 7:13 am
(2) gardening says:

That sounds very tempting. Care to share the recipe?

October 25, 2008 at 12:49 pm
(3) Patty Bailey says:

I’d be happy to share my canned/pickled hot spiced brussels sprout recipe. I will get it to you later today.

October 25, 2008 at 10:32 pm
(4) Patty Bailey says:

Patty’s Hot spiced Brussels Sprouts

2lbs Brussels Sprouts
21/2 cups water
4 heads dill
21/2 cups vinegar
1t cayenne pepper
4 garlic cloves (opt)
3T pickling salt
4 heads dill (opt)
2 jalapeno peppers or 1 habanero pepper

Cook whole Brussels sprouts until just tender. Pack in hot sterilized pint jars. Combine water, vinegar, salt, cayenne pepper, hot peppers (left whole but cut top off and take out seeds). Wear gloves when working with hot peppers. Cook vinegar solution for 10 minutes. Remove hot peppers and pour over Brussels sprouts, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Add a clove of garlic, 1 extra dill head, a slice of hot pepper in jar (optional). Adjust sterilized lids and process pints 15 minutes in boiling–water bath canner. Makes about 4 pints

October 26, 2008 at 9:14 am
(5) gardening says:

Thanks, Patty. What a great way to eat Brussels sprouts. I’m going to give them a try this week.

October 28, 2008 at 4:27 pm
(6) midge says:

I just got a few pounds at the local farmers market. I love them roasted with some garlic. They are just divine that way, I can forget all about the other food on the table and just feast on the sprouts.

October 10, 2009 at 7:52 pm
(7) Trish Tuley-Govoni says:

I cook mine just until tender,drain, while still hot pour Italian dressing over and let it soak in,sometimes better the next day…delicious !

October 14, 2009 at 7:02 pm
(8) Carolyn says:

I add brussel sprouts to my roasts. I love the old fashion whole stuffed chicken or beef roasts with vegetables. I put in sweet potatoes, regular potatoes or cauleyflower, carrots, brockley, onions and brussel sprouts. Such chicken roasts last a week. I make extra dressing and vegetables w/the juice in separate bowls because my deep pan isn’t big enough for the quantity of dressing and vegs I like.

September 19, 2010 at 6:03 am
(9) 8myveggies says:

I never met a brussels sprout that I didn’t like. Try this:

Cook sprouts until barely done. Drain. Cut in halves lengthwise.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan.

Place sprouts in pan cut side down and cook until lightly browned.

Sprinkle with parmesian cheese and serve. Yum.

September 19, 2010 at 3:00 pm
(10) Marie Iannotti says:

8myveggies, what a great name. I don’t think I’ve met any food cooked in olive oil that I didn’t like. I really like the idea of just finishing them off in the oil. Thanks.

September 21, 2010 at 4:35 am
(11) Peardrops says:

It wouldn’t be Christmas over here in England without the brussels. I like to serve my brussels with chestnuts. Last year we saw a shortage of sprouts in the shops here. It was touch and go as to whether we were going to get any for our
festive lunch!

Brussels and sweetheart Cabbage in a Gratin are wonderful
They have never tasted so good as when they are turned golden and crispy at their tips, and with lashings of cheese. Lovely served with a seared steak or roasty beef dinner. Or just served on its own, makes a lovely supper.

November 20, 2010 at 9:34 pm
(12) maryann says:

I’ve always hated brussel sprouts because they are so bitter. I purchased a “tree” of them on the stalk at Trader Joe’s hoping they would be good. Horrible disappointment! Simply awefull. I’ve carmelized onions and garlic in olive oil and fried the things, use fresh rosemary, basil even cilantro and chile peppers to no avail!! With a few pounds of them still on the “tree” I plan to pickle them or make sour brussel sprouts. Could the problem be that they need a frost to sweeten them before they are picked? They are such a beautiful veggy and am so sorry I hate them!

December 5, 2010 at 4:37 pm
(13) gardening says:

Maryann, your tree could have needed a little frost, but maybe you just don’t like Brussels sprouts. A lot of people don’t. Or maybe you just got some duds.

They do have a natural sharpness to them, being members of the cabbage family. But I hope you don’t give up on them before you try some that have either be touched by frost or are young, tender, fresh and just barely cooked.

November 25, 2012 at 10:57 pm
(14) Whitney says:

There’s so many ways to enjoy this unique dynamic veggie. All of these ideas I must try….even growing my own! But my favorite way is to boil them in fresh churned butter…..absolute bliss! The salt and cream and sugar in butter just disguises the natural bitterness. A true down home southern favorite.

November 26, 2012 at 1:31 pm
(15) gardening says:

Butter makes up for a lot of ills, doesn’t it?

I’ve never had fresh churned butter. I’ll have to put it on my to do list.

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