How to Get Big Brussels Sprouts
A 10-Second Task Makes All the Difference
Here’s a quick trick to get those tiny little Brussels sprouts to bulk up. Labor Day weekend – or soon thereafter - is the time to cut off the tips of your Brussels sprouts plants.
These small sprouts will bulk up because I cut off the top of the plant
Brussels sprouts will keep on growing taller from now until mid-November if left on their own. But if you want them to take all that energy and put it into edible form, take a knife and slice off the growing tip. There are generally a few leaves in a cluster at the top of the plant. Just cut those leaves off. This will stop the stem from getting taller and the plant will put their energy into growing the part we like to eat.
This is part I cut off
The top leaves have been cut off
Brussels sprouts are extremely frost hardy. The Brits traditionally eat them for Christmas dinner, and one year I left mine in the garden right through till then. Then, on the night of December 24, the deer came in and ate them all! Or maybe it was Santa’s reindeer.
At any rate, be aware that after greenery becomes scarce, deer will eat your Brussels sprouts, even if they have ignored them all summer. In October I put some chicken wire around the plants to keep away the hoofed marauders. You can store them on the stem in the garage or any cool place for weeks after harvest.
Brussels sprouts store well on the stalk
When you cook Brussels sprouts, don’t cook them to death. I like to steam them until soft enough to poke through with a fork, but long before they turn mushy. Many cooks and gardeners eschew Brussels sprouts because they’ve been served them overcooked. They are good with butter, or sprinkled with a tasty vinegar like Marukan brand “Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar”. Balsamic vinegar is good on them, too.
I used to freeze Brussels sprouts each year after blanching them in boiling water. But I’ve decided that they are best fresh, and eat them every day in season. And by cutting off the tips now, I get nice big plump ones. You can, too.
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