Discovering our food: Brussels sprouts

Hello my dear readers,

How are you today? Another week is here.

This week let’s discover another autumn vegetable, let’s discover the Brussels sprouts.

Everything you need to know about Brussels sprouts_Popsicle Society

Real jewels for well-being, Brussels sprouts are a mine of health. The typical winter vegetable is similar in structure to cabbage, but is presented in miniature compared to its “big brother”.

Brussels sprouts look like miniature cabbages and have interesting organoleptic properties.

Brussels sprouts origins_Popsicle Society

The plant of Brussels sprouts is classified in botany with the name of Brassica oleracea L. var. gemmifera. These small cabbages are part of the vast Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family, the same as their larger relatives, the cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and rocket.

Their name, on the other hand, is due to the fact that the first crops were identified near Brussels around the 13th century. However, it appears that the plant originates from Italy and was brought to the conquered territories by the Roman legionary troops.

Brussels sprouts ambient & needs_Popsicle Society

The plant is cultivated in many areas of the world and is a typical winter vegetable.

The herbaceous plant of Brussels sprouts has an erect stem up to about 1 meter, with alternate green leaves, more or less lobed, that ends with a tuft of leaves with a loose ball.

Brussels sprouts are the edible shoots of the plant that develop in bunches, up to 30-40 at a time, arranged around this long stem under the leaves, axillary shoots.

Are ready for harvest when they reach a diameter of about 3-4 cm. Depending on the variety they can have different colors, from light green to dark green, but also purple-red.

The appearance is that of miniature cabbages, but not inflorescence like cauliflower or broccoli.

Brussels Sprouts Plant_Popsicle Society

Brussels sprouts are produced in the open field. Sowing takes place between March and mid-May and are harvested between September and March.

With the first frosts the quality and flavor of Brussels sprouts improve, especially the bitter and acid taste typical of the buds of early varieties is reduced.

Brussel sprouts can also be grown at home in your garden. These vegetables, in fact, require little care and attention and adapt to the cold.

It is a plant that has acclimatized well with the harsh climate of Northern Europe, where it has been widespread. 75% of the world production of Brussels sprouts takes place in England, while the rest of the production is mainly done in France and Holland.

Brussels sprouts use in the kitchen_Popsicle Society

There are many methods to cook Brussels sprouts: boiled, steamed, braised, baked, sautéed but are not always loved, because of the unpleasant smell they release when they are cooked.

It is important to eat these veggies cooking them as little as possible and with a little water: cooking these vegetables in water, even for just 20 minutes, reduces the amount of glucosinolates by half.

A tip: steam or sauté the Brussels sprouts. They will be more delicious and will guarantee a greater quantity of anticancer molecules.

They are graceful, inviting and tasty: you can prepare the Brussels sprouts in just a few minutes and are a suitable side dish to accompany each dish.

Benefits Brussels sprouts_Popsicle Society

There are many properties of Brussels sprouts. They contain substances that help maintain the health and well-being of our body.

In addition to the well-known anticancer properties, which are common to the whole cabbage family, Brussels sprouts are considered true stimulants of brain activity and concentration.

For this reason they are considered a useful food in the prevention of tumors, in particular those of the prostate, breast and colon. Zeaxanthin also protects the retina of the eyes. Vitamin K contained in Brussels sprouts is very useful for good bone health.

They represent a rich source of vitamin C, think that 80 grams of Brussels sprouts contain 4 times the vitamin C contained in an orange, important during the winter season when there is not much availability of foods with the same characteristics. They also have an excellent content of provitamin A and antioxidants that are very valuable for the body’s health.

Brussels sprouts are moderately caloric, only 37 calories per 100 grams of product. They present an abundant amount of mineral salts, especially potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, magnesium and sulfur, although some, such as potassium and iron, are poorly bio available. Bio availability means the ability of the body to absorb part of a nutrient from a food to perform its physiological functions.

These vegetables possess a quantity of folate (folic acid, also called vitamin B9) such that with only 150 g of product they complete the average daily requirement of an adult person.

In light of their anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects, Brussels sprouts have long been used in natural medicine to also alleviate symptoms associated with gastrointestinal disorders such as gastritis, peptic and duodenal ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, often found as a complication in cancer patients or in the treatment of minor problems such as mastitis or minor injuries.

The considerable presence of purines makes Brussels sprouts not suited to a nutritional regime against hyperuricemia and gout.

Certain vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, which have isothiocyanates in significant concentrations, can affect individuals who suffer from hypothyroidism or who follow diets lacking iodine. It is sufficient to pay attention that in the followed diet there is also the correct intake of iodine, functional for the thyroid.

Brussels sprouts benefits_Popsicle Society

Do you eat Brussels sprout? Years back I did not liked it too much but now I do eat them almost every week as are very easy and versatile.

Thank you all for reading.

Join me next time and let’s discover Brussels 😉

And if you would like to discover more about our food, you may enjoy my previous posts

Bye bye for now 🙂

Photo credit Pixabay & Google Images edited by Popsicle Society

 

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