Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that most people love to hate. They’re available almost all year-round and can taste incredibly delicious if you know just how to cook and season them.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at Brussels sprouts, what they taste like, how to pick them out and store them so you can safely enjoy them for up to a year.
What Are Brussels Sprouts?
They belong to Brassica, the family of cabbage, which is also known as Cruciferous. They’re quite adaptable and closely related to kale, cauliflower, and mustard greens. They were known to originate in Ancient Rome, but Brussels sprouts, as we know them today, were cultivated in the 13th century in Belgium.
Brussels sprouts are small, green vegetables that look a lot like tiny cabbages. The plant has thick stalks that are evenly covered with tiny, round sprouts and large leaves towering over them at the top.
What Do Brussels Sprouts Taste Like?
Raw Brussels Sprouts are known to have a fairly bitter taste, but cooking them properly will bring out their sweet and nutty flavor and reduce their bitterness. They taste quite similar to cabbage, but have a milder flavor.
Brussels sprouts that are smaller in size are known to be a lot more delicious and sweeter. If you don’t particularly enjoy eating Brussels sprouts and find the flavor to be a little too strong, you should try adding different flavorings like lemon juice or olive oil to enhance their taste.
How to Pick out Brussels Sprouts
The best-tasting Brussels sprouts are picked out right after the first hard frost as the cold temperature causes them to develop natural sugars. Brussels sprouts are typically sold without their stalk, but you may find them on the stalk during their peak season.
If you’re planning to use them right away, you should pick out the loose ones as they’re easier to handle. But if you wish to store them for later, it’s better to get the ones on the stalk as they’ll last a lot longer.
You should buy Brussels sprouts that are smaller in size, as they’ll be tender and sweet. Larger Brussels sprouts taste more like cabbage. Look for ones that are vibrant green and feel nice and firm in your hands.
How to Store Brussels Sprouts
To store your Brussels sprouts, the first thing you need to do is to take them off the stalk, but leave their outer leaves as they are. Place them in a glass bowl or a storage container without a lid before storing them inside your fridge.
The outer leaves are likely to shrivel in open air, but the inside of the vegetable will remain protected and perfectly safe to eat. Get rid of the outer leaves to cook them after taking them out of the refrigerator.
Can You Freeze Brussels Sprouts?
You can freeze Brussels sprouts in your freezer to preserve their freshness. If you end up getting more Brussels sprouts than you needed, you can freeze them for later. Here’s what you need to do to freeze Brussels sprouts:
Use a knife to trim the heads and get rid of all the coarse outer leaves. Don’t forget to rinse them thoroughly and sort them by their size. Water-blanch the smaller heads for around 3 minutes, medium heads for 4 minutes, and large heads for 5 minutes. If you wish to steam blanch them, add another minute.
Let them cool and drain the water. Place them inside freezer-safe containers that are vapor and moisture resistant. The best part about freezing them is that you don’t even need to thaw them before adding them to your dishes.
How Long Do Brussels Sprouts Last?
Brussels sprouts, when stored properly in the refrigerator, should be consumed within three days. After that, they’ll still be perfectly safe to eat but may develop a stronger flavor. They can last in the freezer anywhere between 10 months to a year.
When Are Brussels Sprouts in Season?
Brussels sprouts are available almost throughout the year, but their peak season is between September to the middle of February.
Brussels sprouts are best enjoyed when they’re fresh and picked right after the first hard frost. If you wish to reduce the bitter flavors of these vegetables, feel free to add your choice of seasonings to them for enhanced flavor. If you’re not planning to use them up right away, store them in your freezer in a freezer-safe container and enjoy them for up to a year.