Brussel Sprouts like Hollihocks
It is the season for Brussel Sprouts, a love or hate vegetable. It is quick to cook and is eaten crunchy, not soft and slushy. This winter season reminded us of our Hollihock sprouts some years ago
We planted six brussel sprouts plants. We had a great crop on five of the plants The sixth plant ended up looking like Hollihocks. The plants were in the same bay of the polytunnel, with good soil, manured and mulched, and no insects. The leaves tasted quite okay in a stir fry
Any ideas to the reason? We continue to grow a few plants each year, in different parts of the polytunnel. We always have a good firm crop in time for Christmas Day and into the New Year. They freeze well too
Sprouts are a winter vegetable with a delicious flavour and have just the right amount of crunch. They can be served as a side vegetable, added to casseroles, or sliced and stir-fried
Brussels sprouts belong to the cabbage family. The sprouts grow as buds around a central stem. The sprouts should be firm and compact with fresh green leaves and no smell. Sprouts on the stalk stay in better condition for longer. Choose small, evenly-sized sprouts for ease of cooking. Keep them cool at all times and eat before the leaves get withered as they will definitely then develop a strong smell!
Sprouts may have been grown thousands of years ago in China, and brought to the continent around Brussels in the thirteenth century. In the UK they were not known of until late into the eighteenth century.
Preparation and Cooking
Soak the sprouts in warm water for a few minutes in case of any insects lurking in the leaves, then rinse well under running cold water. Trim the ends, without cutting the lowest leaves and remove any discoloured outer leaves. Cut crosses on the stalks if really firm
Drop the sprouts in boiling slightly salted water and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for no more that five to ten minutes depending upon the size. Test for being crunchy and tender using a knife into the stem. Drain, return to the hot pan, shake for a few seconds, drain again, then add a knob of butter. Serve immediately. Alternatively you can cook the sprouts in a casserole, steam, or stir fry them.