Brussels sprouts are considered one of the healthiest vegetables that you can eat, but to many people they have a bad reputation. However, the benefits that come with eating these cruciferous vegetables are far-reaching, so if they have always been on your “no way” list, you may reconsider that after you learn a bit more about them.
When you purchase Brussels sprouts from most stores, they come without the stalk that gives them their “cruciferous” vegetable name (cruciferousbeing Latin for “cross-bearing, referring to the four petals). Buying them with the stalk increases their flavor, though, so it is suggested that you take the few extra minutes to learn how to find the best Brussels sprouts and cook them.
Here you will find all you need to know about how to remove Brussels sprouts from the stalk and eat them, and why you should add these healthy vegetables to your next meal!
6 Benefits of Brussels Sprouts and Why You Should Eat Them
These amazing vegetables fall in the mustard family, joining superfoods like kale and cauliflower. They look like mini cabbages once you remove the stalk, and adding them to your diet gives you a lot of bang in a little bite.
Inside these little green balls of food, you get nutritional benefits like the following important healthy facts.
- They contain high nutrients but low calories
Brussels sprouts are full of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and manganese, while staying low in calories. You can also get some of the protein necessary to fuel your body.
- Brussels sprouts are full of antioxidants
An antioxidant is necessary to reduce stress in your cells and protect your body from chronic diseases. They can reduced cancer cell growth, improved the health of your heart, and even fight signs of aging in your body. The antioxidant kaempferolin particular is highly studied for the health benefits it contains, and this antioxidant is found in abundant amounts in brussel sprouts.
- One cup of Brussels sprouts gives you almost all of your daily fiber needs
Fiber is necessary to your body to avoid digestive issues such as constipation, but it also has other health benefits. Studies have shown that the appropriate fiber intake can help reduce the risk of heart disease and even help manage and improve blood sugar control.
- They are full of vitamins, including the often missed vitamin K
Many people know about the importance of common vitamins like A, B and C, but vitamin K is overlooked and difficult to obtain enough for your daily requirements. This vitamin is important to aid with coagulation, which is when your body creates blood clots to stop your bleeding. It also helps with bone growth and can prevent osteoporosis. Brussels sprouts contain enough vitamin K to satisfy much of your necessary daily intake.
- Brussels sprouts, when used in a healthy diet and exercise regime, can help maintain proper blood sugar levels
When you add cruciferous vegetables to your daily diet, the added fiber intake can help regulate your blood sugar because fiber slows how quickly sugar is absorbed into the blood. Brussels sprouts also contain an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which can help insulin do its job to transport sugar from the blood to the cells, helping your blood sugar levels stay normal.
- They are one of the only natural foods that contain ALA Omega-3 fatty acids
Most people obtain these nutrients from fish and seafood, because these foods are abundant in omega-3. But if you don’t eat fish or seafood, you probably are not getting enough of this very important nutrient in your daily diet. Adding in a few servings of Brussels sprouts each day takes care of this for you. Omega-3 fatty acids have extensive health benefits, including the ability to reduce triglycerides and insulin resistance, decrease inflammation, and slow the effects of cognitive decline in the brain.
Ready to add these amazing superfoods to your diet? The next step is to learn how to remove the brussels sprout from the stalk and enjoy!
How to Remove the Brussels Sprout From the Stalk
While the stalk is edible if you chop or thinly slice it across the grain, it is also very fibrous and not recommended. Instead, take the time to learn how to choose the right Brussels sprout and separate it from the stalk.
Buy them on the stalk for better taste. Brussels sprouts are seasonal and best found in late fall or early winter because their flavor improves with the frost. Buying them on the stalk improves the taste as well, and it also is often cheaper. If you choose to buy them loose, be sure you pick sprouts that are firm and green. Avoid yellowing or spotted sprouts, or sprouts with loose leaves.
Preparing the stalks gets easier the more you do it. Here are six simple steps to removing the stalk from your Brussels sprouts and cooking your delicious vegetable.
- Wash the entire stalk well
If you skip this step, you are taking any dirt or other outside germs and setting it on your cutting board to contaminate the usable food.
- Gently remove each sprout by pulling backward
Each sprout should just easily snap off as you apply a slight amount of pressure. Be sure you remove any leaves that are yellow or spotted. Slice off the rough part of the step if the outside is bruised or yellowed.
- Soak sprouts in warm water
As you remove each sprout from the stalk, add them to a bowl of warm water and allow them to soak for ten to fifteen minutes. This step is important because it eliminates any dirt and possible bugs that are hiding in the tiny folds of the Brussels sprouts. After the ten to fifteen minute soak, drain and rinse the sprouts.
- Cut to size
If the sprouts are small, you can leave them whole. Otherwise, if they have a thick core or are large, you will need to halve or quarter them to size.
- Use a paring knife to incise a small X at the top of each sprout
This step is optional, but most Brussels sprouts connoisseurs believe that doing this helps the sprouts to cook evenly and even a bit faster.
- Choose your cooking type – steam or boil
You can cook your sprouts either way. Steaming them is healthier because it preserves the nutrients. If you steam, it should take about 8 minutes, and if you boil, it should take about 6 minutes until the sprouts are tender. Once they are cooked, you can cut off the stem or base and slice them in half and add them to your meal!
How To Cut Brussel Sprouts For Roasting
Brussel sprouts are one of those foods that gets a bad wrap but they really are delectable. A true treat when well prepared. Follow the proper steps and you’ll be ready to enjoy your Brussel sprouts in no time.