Now in season: Brussels sprouts

They are a good source of protein, iron and potassium but they also offer other benefits that can boost your overall health.

The United States Department of Agriculture offers great information about Brussels Sprouts. They are a good source of protein, iron and potassium but they also offer other benefits that can boost your overall health. Vitamin C is essential for normal growth and development. The nutrient keeps your immune system strong and helps maintain the health of your skin, teeth and gums. Vitamin C protects your cells from damage as well, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. A 1/2-cup serving of Brussels sprouts contains 48 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about 50 percent of what men need each day and about 65 percent of what women need on a daily basis.

There are many ways to cook Brussels sprouts. Roasting has become the preferred method as of late, but proper steaming is wonderful, as are raw preparations, searing, and using these “little” cabbage heads as ingredients in other dishes.

Michigan State University Extension developed the website Michigan Fresh to provide bulletins to consumers on various Michigan grown products. This bulletin has Brussel Sprouts information. There are additional ways to prepare this great vegetable-. Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with bacon and golden raisins combines some very unique flavors.

When storing Brussel Sprouts or other fresh vegetables remember to not wash or trim before refrigerating. You can store Brussels Sprouts in a perforated plastic bag for up to a week. Select sprouts that are bright green and uniform in size to allow for even cooking. Small, firm, compact sprouts are the best choice.

Brussell Sprouts can be frozen following this process. To freeze, select green, firm and compact heads. Make sure the heads are free from insects. Trim and remove the coarse outer leaves. Wash thoroughly. Sort into small, medium and large heads. Water blanch the small heads for 3 minutes, medium heads for 4 minutes and large heads for 5 minutes. Cool promptly in ice water. Drain and package, leaving no headspace. Seal and freeze.

Now that you have discovered this power-packed vegetable, try some at your next family meal or even as a snack. 

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