Cooking Brussels Sprouts

For most of my life, I knew nothing about cooking Brussels sprouts - and I refused not only to cook them, but to eat them.

Then I learned to cook Brussels sprouts properly. Now I love eating them! They are so cute - they look like tiny little cabbages - and they taste great!

brussels sprouts

My husband has always loved Brussels sprouts. He thinks that they are an essential part of any holiday meal. I, on the other hand, always thought that they were a vile vegetable: slimy and smelly. (And they were!)

But since he is such a great husband, I decided to serve Brussels sprouts one Thanksgiving. I did some reading and learned how to cook them.

Imagine my delight when I realized that Brussels sprouts can be delicious!

Here's the secret: choose fresh, good quality Brussels sprouts (bright green, firm and compact - not yellowish, soft and puffy) and don't overcook them!

Overcooking releases a smelly, sulfurous chemical compound. When they are cooked properly, they have no unpleasant odor at all - and they taste great!

It turns out that every Brussels sprout I ate in the first 35 years of my life was overcooked!

Brussels sprouts are not only cute and delicious, but very healthy. Part of their structure is even a powerful anti-cancer chemical!

Since that chemical is destroyed by boiling, it's best to steam Brussels sprouts.

Here's how:

Get out your equipment

  • a cutting board
  • a small sharp knife
  • a saucepan
  • steamer basket

Here's what to do

  • Remove any discolored outer leaves.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut off the stem, if there is any remaining.
  • Use the knife to make an X in the stem end of the sprout. (This allows the entire sprout to cook evenly.)

    cutting brussels sprouts

  • Place the sprouts in a steamer basket over boiling water.
  • Steam until they are just tender (about 6 minutes).

That's it!

If you too have always avoided this vegetable, go ahead and give them another try. You may be surprised at how good they taste when they are cooked properly. They may even become part of your traditional holiday feasts!

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