20130303-134103.jpgTwo Brussel sprout recipes with some brief reasoning on why to eat them

Here is a vegetable one-liner for the kids (or three to five-liner):  “Oh, my!  Look at these orbs we’re eating for supper!  Did you know that your body is made up of teeny, tiny cells that have to fight all kinds of battles?  And these little babies give those cells the weapons they need to go around deactivating destructive powers that could harm your body!  ‘Cause they’re full of glucosinolates (glue-koe-sin-uh-lates).  How cool is that?”

If that’s too long, try this:  “New vegetable time!  Whee-haw!  Full of glue-koe-sin-uh-lates so you never have to have your guts operated on!”

I’m so sorry, people.  We are a bit dramatic at our house.  When we fall off of bikes without helmets, we could get “concussions.”  When we run in grocery stores, we could knock elderly women down and “break their hips.”

Cruciferous vegetables, like Brussel sprouts, have been shown to decrease stomach and colon cancer.  You could soften it and say, “This veggie has glue-koe-sin-uh-lates–to help protect your tummy so you hopefully don’t have to have surgery on it!”  I don’t think most kids get the c-a-n-c-e-r word.

However, as you try to force the Brussel (or broccoli or cabbage or so on) issue, you may want to keep in mind some of us may truly have a genetic Brussel-sprout handicap; it’s biological. A gene for bitterness, TAS2R, determines a person’s ability to detect bitterness in compounds (glucosinolates) in vegetables such as broccoli, turnip, and Brussel sprouts– some of us have two copies of this sensitive gene, some have one copy, and some have none.

Are you a so-called Supertaster with two copies of the bitterness tasting gene?  You could get genetically tested to find out or maybe instead, just try them in the following sausage recipe.  If you don’t like them with sausage (well–who doesn’t like ANYTHING with sausage, or bacon for that matter)–then I say you must be a Supertaster.  And that stinks–or maybe it’s just a bitter pill to swallow.  But don’t fret, there are reports where the bitter perception may change over time or with age and exposure.  Who knows?  Try ’em a couple of ways over a few weeks and months before you throw in the towel.

repetition is a key to success.

He who tries only once may fail forever.

Recipe One:  Brussels and Sausage (pictured to the left in above photo)

1/2-1 pound of your favorite sausage (US Wellness Meats sells some with no sugar or preservatives)
1 onion, diced/chopped
3 or so cloves of garlic, chopped
About 1-2 pounds of Brussel sprouts
Salt and pepper to taste
Skillet with a lid (in my haste I grabbed a lid for a smaller pan but it worked great, allowing some of the steam to escape and evenly brown the Brussel sprouts)

20130303-134028.jpg1.  Wash and drain Brussels.  Cut into fourths.  I don’t mess with them  much beyond this, maybe just remove any overtly wilted bad looking leaves before I cut them.  Set them aside.
2.  Brown sausage in large skillet.  Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3.  Saute onions in sausage drippings until lightly browned over medium heat.  Add chopped garlic, Brussel sprouts, and add back in the sausage.  Cover skillet with a lid and continue cooking, stirring occasionally so things don’t stick.  Your goal here is Brussels that are somewhat steamed, yet browned on the outside–this is where the lid with a smaller circumference than the pan came in handy, allowing some steam to leave so the Brussels are kind of steamed and kind of sautéed.  Remove from heat when Brussels are cooked to your liking–I like mine fork tender yet lightly browned.
4.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe 2:  Roast brussels (featured to the right in the above photo)

Desired amount of Brussel sprouts, my picture below shows about a pound spread over a large jelly roll pan
Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Garlic powder, about 1 teaspoonful, or 3 cloves pressed garlic
Optional:  thyme, oregano, onion powder (maybe a teaspoonful of each or to your desire)
Baking sheet
Parchment paper to line baking sheet for easy clean up and even cooking

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Rinse, drain, and quarter Brussel sprouts.20130303-134041.jpg
3..  Line a jelly roll pan or your desired baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.  Lightly coat the parchment paper with a dash of olive oil.  The parchment paper is nice because it keeps them from sticking, makes clean-up a cinch, and allows them to brown more easily as they don’t stick to the pan in areas.
4.  Put Brussels in a large bowl.  Add just enough olive oil to coat the Brussel sprouts.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and either thyme or oregano or both and some onion salt if desired.  Mix well.
20130303-134047.jpg5.  Spread in a single layer spread out apart as much as possible.
6.  Roast until many of the Brussel sprouts are lightly browned.  Sometimes a few leaves will overbrown, and I pick those out, if I have to keep cooking them so the rest cook well.  My family loves the leaves that fall off and get crispy.  I have seen recipes where they separate the leaves and toss them with olive oil and spices and roast them until lightly browned and crisp.


Brussel Sprout Notes:

A Cruciferous Vegetable (Power Vegetables)

  • Cruciferous refers to how all the plants in this family have four flowers in the shape of a cross
  • Types:  broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, kale, collard greens, kohlrabi, turnip, rutabaga, watercress, radishes

Benefits of Brussels (and other cruciferous veggies)

One mans drug is another man’s poison:  Why not eat Brussels (and other cruciferous vegetables)?

  • Thyroid dysfunction:  These same beneficial glucosinolates in them can interfere with thyroid hormone production and iodine uptake.  Supposedly if you have enough iodine in your diet, the effect is negated.  Or if you cook them, rather than eating them raw.  For most of us, this is not an issue.  If you are on a “thyroid healing diet”, this is an issue.
  • People who are watching oxalate intake.

Raw, lightly cooking, overcooking

  • They can be eaten raw.  Quarter them up and eat them.  Or quarter them and break apart the leaves, drizzle with the olive oil and spices mentioned above, and have a salad.
  •  Cooking them helps release some of the bitter tasting chemical and thyroid disrupting compounds, so if you are a Supertaster or hypothyroid person, you may much prefer to have them cooked.  However, it’s the bitter tasting compound that is “beneficial”, although there are numerous other benefits besides these.  But what good is any of it if you won’t eat it?  The best deal, cook as little as possible to make them delicious for you to eat.  Even if cooking reduces benefits, it does not eliminate benefits.
  • Overcooking–sulfur released, and they don’t smell or taste too good.


2 thoughts on “Brussels

  1. Tammy

    I love Brussels sprouts! This recipe looks amazing. I will definitely be watching this blog now.

    Thank you for your post and your nomination for a Beautiful Mama blog award. I don’t know how to nominate – if you give me instructions, looking at your site I’d say you are definitely a Beautiful Mama too! So amazing what you’re doing.

    My plan had been to homeschool my children as well, but since her dad left, I only got to have one beautiful baby and had to abandon the idea of staying home to school her. Unless I somehow win a steady income! Ha!

    Anyway, thank you so much for the nomination. It has made my day!


  2. Pingback: Finishing Up the Garden: All of the Rest of the Garden | the homeschooling doctor

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