Brussels Sprouts

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Brussel sprouts are a vegetable in the family of cabbages and it’s grown for its edible buds. It’s considered to be a healthy food and there is evidence to support that. Brussel sprouts came to the US from France as French settlers have brought it to Louisiana.

Most of the US production goes towards the frozen food market and only 15 percent remaining are sold fresh and available for consumption right away. It’s mostly used in salads and side dishes.

Trivia

  • They are named after the capitol of Belgium
  • 70 million pounds are produced in the US every year
  • They are known to boost libidos

Buying Guide

It’s better to buy Brussel sprouts loose than on a stalk, even though they may be more presentable when they are on a stalk. You’re supposed to look for the bright green heads and to make sure they are firm and thus fresh. The head should also feel heavy for its size.

The smaller they are they will be sweeter and more tender. They will also taste better right after the first frost.

Production & Farming in Texas

Cole crops such as Brussel sprouts can grow in ordinary home gardens in Texas, but amongst all Cole crops Brussel sprouts are probably the ones that need the most care. The key to producing them is to have the soil tested and make sure that it has the right pH value for that vegetable.  For the most part the soil in South Texas is better suited for this purpose than the soil in West Texas.

Brussel sprouts also have a much narrower window for success. They could only be grown as a fall crop in order to have a good yield while other Cole crops could be grown throughout most of the year.

Brussels sprout varieties include Diablo, Jade Cross, Royal Marvel and Tasty Nugget, to name a few.

They can survive quite low temperatures, as much as 20 degrees lower than the ones that other members of that family can. However, what they can’t do is survive a sudden drop in temperature.

When the sprouts are about 1 inch in diameter and the lower leaves begin to turn yellow, cut off lower leaves and remove sprouts with your fingers or a knife. New sprouts form higher up the stem as the plant grows.

Pesticides

The residue of pesticides affects Brussel sprouts as much as it does other vegetables of its family. There are as much as 50 types of pesticides used on Brussel sprouts and they usually stay on the plant for a long period of time.

Geography

The first written reference to Brussel Sprouts comes from the 16th century but it’s probable that it has been grown in today’s Belgium as early as the 13th century. From what was then known as southern Netherlands it spread throughout Europe starting with the colder parts of it.

The commercial growth started in California in the 1920 even though it was grown in gardens in Louisiana in the 18th century. From California it spread throughout the country and now total U.S. production is around 32,000 tons, with a value of $27 million.

Packaging

Brussel sprouts can be packed in a variety of materials, but it’s mostly in form of bags that can carry up to 1 kg of weight. Up until recently bags and nets were mostly made from plastic but now the stores are moving away from it.

Many are using wooden boxes instead. Some farmer’s markets also use tubes, sacks, trays, and baskets, covered in plastic film to keep them clean.

Eating

For a long time, Brussel sprouts had a bad reputation as a difficult vegetable to work with and a difficult ingredient to use. This doesn’t have to be true, but the key is in preparation and not the cooking itself.

Start by making sure they are still firm and that the leafs are still fresh. If they aren’t you can just remove the leafs that are withered away and yellow. It’s best to use a paring knife to maneuver the round vegetable. Remove the stems using such a knife.

Cut the sprouts in half by cutting throughout the stem. Separate the leaves from the halves of the Brussel sprouts and you’re ready to store or cook.

Storage

Brussel sprouts should be stored without washing. If there’s a water in the bag in which they are stored it will rot faster. Leave the sprouts as they are, just place them in plastic bag and make sure they are kept in a crisp part of the fridge. It’s also possible to keep them on a stalk instead of cutting them before storage.

Cooking

There are more than a few ways to cook with Brussel Sprouts. Here are a few options you can try.

  • You can try frying them in a pan. This doesn’t require too much planning. The key is to make the Brussel sprouts complement the other things you put in a pan. It’s best to use olive oil and you’ll to mix them sprouts with rich and soft meats.
  • Mixing the sprouts with cheese is also a good idea because the two are different in flavor and in texture. Mozzarella is a common choice because it’s not that expensive and it makes for a rich and flavorful meal.
  • Roasted Brussel sprouts are also a great option especially if you do it with bacon and make both just perfectly crispy and allow the sprouts to fill the bacon with their juices and sauces.

Nutrition

Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of protein, and just 88 grams (g), or 1 cup, of raw Brussels sprouts meets the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) recommended daily requirements for vitamin C and vitamin K.

Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Vegetables in this family provide a wide variety of nutrients and contain few calories. People seeking a high nutrient diet should consider including cruciferous vegetables in their diet.

Brussels sprouts are also a great source of calcium. Calcium is essential for bone strength and growth.  P

Please note that individuals taking blood-thinners, such as warfarin, should maintain the amount of vitamin K they consume each day due to its important role in blood clotting.

They contain the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). In a 2019 review, supplementation with this compound demonstrated an ability to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in people with diabetes.

Brussels sprouts contain plenty of vitamin C.  Getting enough dietary vitamin C may help people preserve eye health and reduce the risk of cataracts.

They pack a nutritional punch. The Aggregate Nutritional Density Index (ANDI) measures how much nutrition a vegetable offers for its weight.

When Are Brussels Sprouts in Season in Texas?

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  • January
  • February
  • March
  • Oktober
  • November
  • December

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Brussels Sprouts in Texas Directly from the Producer

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Baugh Farms

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Bill’s Organic Garden

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Fisher Family Farm and Ranch

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Froberg’s Farm and Country Store

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Garret’s Legacy Farmstead

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Gracia Farms

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Gundermann Acres

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Harmony Harvest Family Farm

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Hartman Farm

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Harvest Moon Garden

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Hat and Heart Farm

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Herban Austin

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Jazbac Farm

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Loam Agronomics

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Lund Produce Company

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Mantells Cowboy Creations

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Moon Dog Farms