Season’s Eats: Brussels Sprouts
By Jillian Kaplan
Roots for Life Marketing and Communications Volunteer
Holidays have come and gone, but that winter chill still lingers. As we don boots and coats, and endure rain and, even some snow here and there, January has peppered us with its usual frigid nip. Luckily, there are plenty of seasonal vegetables to warm you up in no time.
Why Eat Seasonally?
From a health perspective, seasonal fruits and vegetables retain more nutrients than those that have been shelved. Seasonal produce will have had more sun exposure, which will help also preserve antioxidants within the plant. Basically you’re getting a more nutrient-dense serving, while also supporting the crop from local farmers. Win-win.
Here at Roots for Life, we’d like to highlight a fruit or veggie that is optimal for the current month.
JANUARY’S “SEASON’S EATS”: BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Brussel sprouts have a strong nutty or earthy flavor, and can be slightly bitter. They are best planted in the summer for a fall harvest. Their peak season is from September to mid-February. When growing, they can sustain freezes for short periods of time, which actually sweetens the flavor a little.
Brussel sprouts are:
High in fiber, which helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping keep hunger and blood sugar in check.
High in vitamin C, which can help prevent the common cold and also helps make collagen (a tissue needed for healthy bones, teeth, gum, and blood vessels).
High in vitamin K, which is involved in building healthy bone density.
Rich in folate, a vitamin that plays an important role in making new cells.
Brussel sprouts and cancer:
Brussel sprouts contain a chemical called glucosinolate, which has exhibited anti-cancer affects in mice. Researchers are still investigating whether the same results would occur in humans.
Other vegetables with this chemical are in the cruciferous family, and include kale, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and collard greens. These veggies are associated with reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
This recipe can be found at www.allrecipes.com.
Try this warm, winter veggie for yourself. When shopping, try to find sprouts that are bright green with tightly packed leaves. Brussel sprouts can last 3 to 5 weeks frozen, or about 1 to 2 weeks refrigerated.
It’ll take about 1 hour (including prep time), and will make about 6 servings.
1 ½ pounds of brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Trim the ends of the brussels sprouts and remove yellow leaves
Place trimmed brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet.
Place on the center of the oven rack.
Roast in the preheated oven 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes to even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning.
Your brussels sprouts should be dark brown, almost black when finished. Best served immediately.
There you have it – try some brussels sprouts for healthy (and toasty) winter nourishment.