In season, local foods are fresher, tastier and have more nutrients. Vegetables in season in January include: brussels sprouts, leeks, parsnips, sweet potatoes, shallots, turnips and winter squash. If we focus in on the brussels sprout, we find a tasty treat that started in the vicinity of Brussels in Belgium over 400 years ago.
The brussels sprout is a member of the cabbage family. Rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, these small, leafy green buds are a winter crop that flourishes in cooler weather. The plant is a tall stemmed cabbage that has many tiny heads that sprout along the stem at the bases of the leaves. The smaller the brussels sprout the sweeter the brussels taste. A great staple for losing weight, 100 grams of brussels sprouts have only 45 calories but contain 3.8 grams of fiber and no cholesterol. Their flavonoid antioxidants offer protection from prostate and colon cancers. This incredibly nutritious vegetable is also a rich source of B-Complex vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin A and minerals that protect against iron deficiency anemia.
Fresh brussels sprouts are delicate in flavor, but over cooking the sprouts results in the release of a pungent smell. It’s best to blanch them in boiling water for just about 5 minutes, cool, then add to recipes. As a favorite snack, Europeans prepare them roasted and salted.
"Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people."- Elizabeth Berry