Food Information
Cabbage Family


Brussels sprouts are the newest members of the cabbage family, having been around for only a few hundred years. They grow on a very unusual yet attractive plant that from a distance looks a bit like a miniature green papaya tree. The leaves are on the top of the plant and the tiny heads (called sprouts) completely surround the stalk. Brussels sprouts look like miniature heads of green cabbage.

Brussels sprouts thrive in cool, damp weather and for some reason are at their best when grown not too far from the ocean. California is by far the number one source, but America does import a fair amount from Mexico during the winter months. During the fall until the first fairly heavy frost, Long Island in New York has a large, top quality crop. The peak of the California season is from October through March; there is some slackening of supplies during the summer months. However, if fresh ones aren't available or are overpriced, frozen Brussels sprouts are one of our better frozen vegetables.

Most fresh Brussels sprouts are marketed in sixteen-ounce, film-covered, waxed-paper cups. As with fresh broccoli, it's go on green and avoid yellow. The smaller, firmer, and greener the sprout, the better the flavor. Soft, flabby ones, even if green, are less desirable than the hard, compact sprouts. Those with yellow leaves are undesirable.

Fresh sprouts aren't very perishable and should last for at least a week if you store them in the coolest area of your refrigerator.

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