The Veg Plot

Bunch of fives – Brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts growing on the stalk

With the festive season well under way, families up and down the country are arguing about how best to serve their sprouts. We’ll leave such discussions to the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall* and instead bring you our top five allotment tips for the most controversial Christmas trimming.

1. For freshness cut, or buy, the whole stalk and only sever the individual sprouts immediately prior to cooking.

2. If you’re growing your own then you have a few different types to choose from, including a purple variety. Hide them under the stuffing and give your gran a surprise .

3. For an extra bounty, harvest the bunch of leaves assembled on top of the stalk and cook like you would a cabbage.

4. Only use sprouts while their leaves are tightly packed – loose leaved, ‘blooming’ sprouts taste bitter.

5. Sprouts contain a complex sugar called ‘raffinose’, which humans struggle to break down, and a small amount sulphur. It’s the combination of these substances that makes sprouts so fartonogenic.

Did you know?
You may be surprised – and alarmed – to discover that some people make wine from sprouts. We suggest you don’t. Instead, put your feet up, crack open a bottle of your favourite tipple, and enjoy. Cheers!

*Roasted with shallots and thyme

Brussel sprout cabbage end

The cabbage-like bit on top of the sprout stalk

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