The Brussels (or brussels or brussel) sprout (Brassica oleracea Gemmifera Group) is a cultivar group of Wild Cabbage cultivated for its small leafy green heads, which resemble miniature cabbages. The name stems from the original place of cultivation, not because of the vegetable's popularity in Brussels.
Before washing Brussels sprouts, remove stems and any yellow or discolored leaves. Wash them well under running water or soak them in a bowl of water to remove any insects that may reside in the inner leaves. Brussels sprouts are usually cooked whole. To allow the heat to permeate throughout all of the leaves and better ensure an even texture, cut an "X" in the bottom of the stem before cooking.
Brussels sprouts have the same cancer-inhibiting potential as cabbage and other Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cauliflower) because they contain the nitrogen compounds called indoles and a significant amount of Vitamin C. This vitamin acts as an antioxidant to fight off the free radicals, as well as an immune booster. Brussels sprouts also supply good amounts of folate (folic acid), potassium, vitamin K, and a small amount of beta-carotene (precursor to Vitamin A).
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