Give Brussels Sprouts a Second Chance!

Posted October 31, 2022

Generally speaking, Brussels sprouts are not a well-liked vegetable. Could it stem from a childhood memory of being served mushy, overcooked sprouts? Can it be from their strong odor? We highly recommend you give them a second chance! When cooked properly, they are full of lovely texture and delicious flavor. We’re on a mission to prove this often-overlooked vegetable should be a staple on your table.

Their growth structure is quite unique. Along the Central Coast you’ll see stalks of mini cabbage-like orbs sprouting from a 4-foot stalk and crowned with large, rippled leaves. They are either individually hand-picked from the stalk, or the entire stalk is cut. Purchase fresh Brussels sprouts at your local farmers’ market in bulk, or still attached to the stalk they grew on. These stalks are an interesting way to visualize how they actually grew and provide a learning experience for both children and adults.

Growing in this perfect environment leads to a mild, earthy flavor that is also nutty and sweet when cooked properly. Their tight, compact form means they do not need outer leaves peeled away, just trimmed at the growth end.

When purchasing sprouts, choose tight, compact sprouts with no signs of yellowing, good color, and no softness. Store in a bag in your refrigerator for no more than 2 to 3 days. Freshness is important when it comes to their flavor and reduction in bitterness – another reason to buy at your farmers’ market, where freshness is key!

Here are a few ways we think we can convince you to cook some very tasty dishes with farm-fresh Brussels sprouts. For consistent cooking, select sprouts that are similar in size.

  • Sautéed with olive oil, pancetta, and onions, top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Roasted to crispy perfection with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Shaved or thinly sliced raw into a salad or slaw with nuts, pomegranate seeds, and a vinaigrette
  • Chopped or sliced into potato gratin or other casseroles.
  • Baked with butter, salt and pepper, grated sharp cheddar cheese, and breadcrumbs.

You’ll find some of the tastiest Brussels sprouts at your farmers’ market from Ventana Farms in Hollister, Northridge Farms out of Salinas, Ground Stew from Royal Oaks, Fifth Crow Farms in Pescadero, Iacopi Farms from Half Moon Bay, and Avila Farms out of San Juan Bautista.

Try fresh Brussels sprouts from your farmers’ market using some of the ways we’ve suggested above and we’re sure you’ll change your mind about liking them!