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Brussels Sprouts



Brussels sprout
Scientific classification
Species:B. oleracea
Cultivar Group

Brassica oleracea Gemmifera Group


The Brussels sprout (Brassica oleracea Gemmifera Group) is a cultivar group of Wild Cabbage cultivated for its small (typically 2.5-4 cm diameter) leafy heads, which resemble miniature cabbages.

Brussels sprouts were first cultivated in Belgium, and are therefore named after its capital, Brussels.

Brussels sprouts grow on long thick stalks, from which they must be picked off, usually by hand. In the UK, they are a traditional winter vegetable, and are often eaten boiled with a roast dinner. They can also be stir-fried or made into soup.

According to a survey in 2002, Brussels sprouts are Britain's most hated vegetable. Brussels sprout aficionados attribute the hatred of the sprouts to overcooking, pointing out that if this is avoided, the vegetable possesses a delicious, delicate nutty flavour. Many consider that the best flavour is only developed in mid to late winter, after the plants have been exposed to some frost.

A field of Brussels sprouts in the  after harvest.
A field of Brussels sprouts in the Cotswolds after harvest.

The cooking of the Brussels sprout is also the subject of much debate. Commonly the base is 'crossed' with a knife under the belief that this will lead to more even cooking. Others believe that this procedure leads to a leeching of flavours and that it should be avoided.

Brussels sprouts are commonly misspelled and mispronounced as "Brussel sprouts".


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