To be blunt, Brussels sprouts have suffered from a truly undeserved, poor reputation. This is primarily because they're simply not being cooked correctly. When prepared properly, by gently steaming or even grilling, Brussels sprouts have a sweet, nutty flavor and a crisp texture. However, if they're allowed to overcook, they produce a strong foul odor and become mushy in texture. An overcooked Brussels sprout is truly vile, while a perfectly prepared Brussels sprout served with garlic butter or Hollandaise sauce is a gourmet delight!
And let's not forget the many other reasons there are to love Brussels sprouts! They're easy to grow and easy to use, and they offer so many amazing health benefits. They're low in calories and carbs, yet high in fiber to promote good digestion and gut health. They're also high in vitamins K and C, so they promote bone and blood health as well as support the immune system. And they're packed with antioxidants.
Brussels sprouts need a long growing season, about 100 days. They can be direct seeded about 4 months before the first fall frost date or started indoors in flats in early spring. When direct seeding, plant the seeds ½ inch deep. Transplants or seedlings should be spaced 18 inches apart in rows 24-30 inches apart. Mix compost or dried manure and bone meal into the soil around the seedlings. Once sprouts begin to form around the stem, pinch off the growing tip of the plant. This will encourage the sprouts to swell.
Brussels sprouts are extremely frost tolerant and will grow virtually anywhere. However, plants will wilt if conditions are too hot or dry. Weed your plants regularly, taking care not to disrupt them but paying attention to the appearance of any yellow leaves. You'll want to remove those too. You might also consider staking your plants if you live in a windy area or a storm is expected.
Did you know? Belgium gets the bragging rights to these little gems. They get their name from the country's capital, Brussels, as they once grew in great abundance there.