Seasonal shoutout Brussels sprouts

It’s hard not to feel sorry for poor old Brussels sprouts...

They’re one of the world's most hated vegetables, probably due to the way our older relatives (we’re not naming names) boiled them into oblivion when we were younger. But these cute little green clusters taste amazing at this time of year.

Here’s the lowdown...

A bit about BrusselsThe Brussels sprout is a form of wild cabbage and a member of the Brassica family along with broccoli and kale. They usually measure between 2 and 4cm in diameter. It is believed that they were first grown in the 13th century in Belgium, hence the name that comes from the country’s capital city. Sprout selection

When choosing your Brussels sprouts, look for small, compact and vibrant green vegetables. You can keep them for up to four days in your fridge crisper. Plant prep

When preparing, trim the darker green outer leaves from the sprouts, then either cut a cross into the bottoms or chop in half to shave minutes off cooking time. Sprouts need to be boiled for about seven minutes to reach the desired tenderness, but you must cook them without a lid to stop the chlorophyll in the plants reacting with the water and causing a funky flavour.

Taste tipsAlthough we think sprouts are delicious simply boiled in water, some people may prefer to jazz them up a little bit. Here are a few ideas for flavours that blend with your Brussels:

• Toss with crispy bacon and chestnuts • Steam with slices of fresh ginger • Mash sprouts and potato to make a variation on bubble and squeak • Drizzle with soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds • Stir through butter and fresh dill • Caramelise in honey and wholegrain mustard

Did you know?

1. Sprouts are believed to protect against colon cancer because they contain sinigrin. 2. The largest producers of Brussels sprouts in Europe is the Netherlands, at 82,000 metric tons! 3. In a 2002 survey, they were voted the most hated vegetable in Britain!