Brussels sprouts — the bane of children everywhere. They really aren’t too terribly bad unless they’ve been prepared wrong. Add a little garlic, a little butter, and… voila! Fantastic, fabulous even! Really… is it any surprise that they aren’t really that bad? They’re related to cabbage, for pete’s sake. This is also known as a cultivar. You heard that right, amigo. They’re related to cabbage, so how bad could they possibly be? Nonetheless, my mother still regals us of her youth when her and her siblings tossed a mountain of them behind the stove and out of sight.
Brussels sprouts get their name, obviously, from their supposed city of origin. However, in reality, very few people believe that Brussels sprouts actually come from Belgium. Yet another misconception about Brussels sprouts. Well, if I were a betting individual I would say that they at least became famous in Belgium. “Brussels” sprouts likely came from ancient rome. This makes me believe that our new favorite sprout may actually have been intended to eat with butter and garlic after all, since they come from the capital of what is now the capital of Italy!
Brussels sprouts are related, as I stated earlier, to wild cabbage. However, in addition to wild cabbage, there are many other plants in the same family that they are also related to: collard greens, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi. In short — they are consider a cruciferous vegetable.
Vitamin C, folic acid, and other important vitamins are found within Brussels sprouts. Many vegetables are loaded with fiber, but some more than others and Brussels sprouts have a goodly bit. Brussels sprouts (or “sproots” as I like to say) contains a healthy helping of indole-3-carbinol and another compound known as sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is believed to be a cancer fighting compound. Indole-3-carbinol, or I3C for short, boosts DNA repair. Since cancer originates, in part, from DNA damage it is easy to see why both of these compounds are an excellent addition to your diet.
There happens to be a few different ways to cook and eat Brussels sprouts. Whatever route you go, at some point try it with a little garlic and butter. These two ingredients, for me at least, make this particular vegetable delicious. You can prepare these vegetables by roasting them (not my favorite), boiling, or steaming. Steaming is best. Boiling is probably the easiest, but it also strips out a larger number of the helpful compounds than is advisable. Do not overcook Brussels sprouts because they will release a foul sulphurous odor, if you do. Ten minutes or more, and you’ve over done it!