Brussels sprouts are great eaten raw (e.g., in salads). However, they are generally served cooked as they are then easier to digest. Brussels sprouts develop their full flavor and taste less bitter after a light frost or two.
From Wikipedia: “The Brussels sprout is a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages (Brassica oleracea), grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm (0.98–1.6 in) in diameter and look like miniature cabbages. The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium, and may have originated and gained its name there.”
Cooking and preparation:
“The most common method of preparing Brussels sprouts for cooking begins with cutting the buds off the stalk. Any surplus stem is cut away, and any loose surface leaves are peeled and discarded. Once cut and cleaned, the buds are typically cooked by boiling, steaming, stir frying, grilling, or roasting. To ensure even cooking throughout, buds of a similar size are usually chosen. Some cooks will make a single cut or a cross in the center of the stem to aid the penetration of heat. Brussels sprouts can be pickled as an alternative to cooking.
Overcooking will render the buds gray and soft, and they then develop a strong flavor and odor that some dislike. The odor is associated with the glucosinolate sinigrin, an organic compound that contains sulfur: hence the strong smell. For taste, roasting Brussels sprouts is a common way to cook them to bring out flavor. Common toppings or additions for Brussels sprouts include Parmesan cheese and butter, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, bacon, pistachios, pine nuts, mustard, brown sugar, chestnuts or pepper. Another popular way of cooking Brussels sprouts is to sauté them.”
Nutrients, phytochemicals, and research:
“Raw Brussels sprouts contain excellent levels of vitamin C and vitamin K, with more moderate amounts of B vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin B6); essential minerals and dietary fibre exist in lesser amounts.
Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contain sulforaphane, a phytochemical under basic research for its potential anticancer properties. Although boiling reduces the level of sulforaphane, steaming and stir frying do not result in significant loss.
Consuming Brussels sprouts in excess may not be suitable for patients taking anticoagulants such as "warfar.." since they contain vitamin K, a blood-clotting factor. In one reported incident, eating too many Brussels sprouts precipitated hospitalization for an individual on blood-thinning therapy.”
“Although native to the Mediterranean region with other cabbage species, Brussels sprouts first appeared in northern Europe during the fifth century, later being cultivated in the thirteenth century near Brussels from which they derived their name.”
“Brussels sprouts grow in temperature ranges of 7–24 °C (45–75 °F), with highest yields at 15–18 °C (59–64 °F). Fields are ready for harvest 90 to 180 days after planting. The edible sprouts grow like buds in helical patterns along the side of long, thick stalks of about 60 to 120 cm (24 to 47 in) in height, maturing over several weeks from the lower to the upper part of the stalk. Sprouts may be picked by hand into baskets ... or by cutting the entire stalk at once for processing, or by mechanical harvester, depending on variety. Each stalk can produce 1.1 to 1.4 kg (2.4 to 3.1 lb), although the commercial yield is about 900 g (2.0 lb) per stalk. Harvest season in temperate zones of the northern latitudes is September to March, making Brussels sprout a traditional winter stock vegetable. In the home garden, harvest can be delayed as quality does not suffer from freezing. Sprouts are considered to be sweetest after a frost.
Brussels sprouts are a cultivar group of the same species as cabbage, in the same family as collard greens, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi; they are cruciferous (they belong to the Brassicaceae family; old name Cruciferae). Many cultivars are available, some being purple in color, such as 'Ruby Crunch' or 'Red Bull'.”