This recipe (photo #1), from Two Peas And Their Pod, would be at home on Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables; but why wait until then?
It’s a delicious way to enjoy Brussels sprouts through the fall and winter seasons—and we have more recipes at the end of this article.
Brussels sprouts buying tips:
And a final note:
Few foods are more unpleasant than overcooked Brussels sprouts. The same is true with other cruciferous members: excessive heat releases an unpleasant-smelling and -tasting chemical compound.
Brussels sprouts have more of this compound. But cook them lightly, and they are bites of pleasure.
The total prep/cook time is 50 minutes.
If you like the cranberry-orange flavor profile, take a look at yesterday’s cranberry-orange white chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Ingredients For 6 Servings
1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Trim the brown bottoms of the Brussels sprouts (photo #2) and remove any discolored leaves. If they are large sprouts, cut them in half (leave small sprouts whole).
2. ZEST and juice the orange. In a large bowl, whisk together zest, juice, olive oil and honey. Add the Brussels sprouts to the bowl and toss until they are well coated.
3. ADD the sprouts to a large baking pan and season with salt and black pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly.
The Brussels sprouts plant is a beauty: A four-foot stalk crowned with large, wide graceful leaves resembling a cabbage (photo #4).
The sprouts, edible buds, grow up the entire stalk in a progression from smallest to largest.
So if we eat the buds, why are they called Brussels sprouts? Because rather than a conventional bud, which develops into a flower, Brussels sprouts just spring up on the stalk, and stay that way.
The Brussels sprout is a member of the cancer-fighting Cruciferous vegetables group, also called the Brassicas. If they look like tiny cabbages, its because they’re a member of the cabbage genus and species, Brassica oleracea.
 What looks like a cabbage on top of the stalk is known as Brussels leaves. They are most certainly edible: sweet and tender like greens, with a mild flavor that doesn’t have a cabbage’s edginess (photo courtesy Heirloom Organic Vegetable Garden | YouTube.
If you follow our comments on taxonomy, you’ll be interested to know the genus and species Brassica oleracea includes these different vegetable cultivars*: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, collard greens, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), kohlrabi and Savoy cabbage.
They are distinguished taxonomically by their cultivar group. Brussels sprouts belong to the Gemmifera group of cabbages.
From Rome To Brussels To Louisiana
Cabbage species are native to the Mediterranean region, and early versions of Brussels sprouts were likely cultivated by the ancient Romans. The original wild plants resembled leafy kale, and were selected and crossbred to create the Brassica oleracea cultivars we know today.
Modern Brussels sprouts were cultivated in northern Europe during the 5th century. By the 13th century they were (and still are) cultivated near Brussels, which is how they got their name. They were also cultivated extensively in The Netherlands, Germany and Britain: They do well in colder climates.
French settlers brought Brussels sprouts to Louisiana in the 18th century. It took a while for them to head west to the Golden State, where most of America’s supply is grown today. The first plantings in California began in the 1920s. The Central Coast areas of San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties offer an ideal combination of coastal fog and cool temperatures year-round.
A smaller harvest is grown in Skagit Valley, Washington, and to a lesser extent on Long Island, New York.
Once harvested, the sprouts will keep well for three to five weeks in near-freezing storage (and about half as long in a home refrigerator), before wilting and discoloring. The minute you see that happening, steam them and turn them into a purée or soup.
Editor’s Note: We capitalize Brussels because it’s the name of a city. We do the same with French fries. After all, we wouldn’t like to see new york strip steak or california roll: They’re all proper names, named after places that don’t want to be lower-cased.
However, you’ll frequently see them spelled brussels sprouts, Brussel sprouts and brussel sprouts.
*Other Brassica species include familiar crucifers such as arugula, bok choy, cauliflower, cress, horseradish/wasabi, mizuna, mustard greens/seeds, radish/daikon, rapini, rutabaga, tatsoi and turnip, among others.
 Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad (here’s a recipe from Kitchen 52).
 Brussels sprouts as part of winter veggie kabobs skewers. Here’s the recipe (photo Bittersweet Blog).
BRUSSELS SPROUTS NUTRITION
Brussels sprouts and other members of the cruciferous vegetables group are high in cancer-protecting phytochemicals.
Brussels sprouts themselves are exceptionally rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including glucosinolate, an important cancer-fighting phytonutrient. All cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, but brussels sprouts are especially potent in this regard.
They are also cholesterol-fighters. Steamed brussels sprouts actually have a have better cholesterol-lowering effect than raw brussels sprouts. The plant fibers do a better job of binding when they’ve been steamed.
Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C: One cup provides more than the daily requirement.
Vitamin C, along with vitamins A and E, also found in Brussels prouts, protect the body by trapping harmful free radicals.
Brussels sprouts are one of the best vegetable sources for vitamin K, which strengthens bones and helps to prevent, or at least, delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.