Brussels sprouts are probably amongst the most hated vegetables on the planet. Children everywhere dread the sight of these leafy green vegetables on their dinner plate. However, they are rich in a number of important vitamins and minerals and contain a chemical that is believed to have anticancer properties. They can be purchased fresh or frozen and are commonly eaten after boiling or steaming. Brussels sprouts belong to the cabbage family and they look just like a miniature cabbage (they are only about 2.5-5 cm (1-1.6 in) in diameter). Brussels sprouts are named after the city of Brussels in Belgium and this vegetable is very popular in this region. It might also give us a clue as to where these nutritious little vegetables come from.
Where do Brussels sprouts come from?
The ancestors of the Brussels sprouts were probably grown in ancient Rome. However, the arrival of Brussels sprouts can probably be traced back to the 13th century in the region now known as Belgium. The first written evidence of this species come from 1587 and they became very popular in the southern Netherlands at this time. From here they spread to northern Europe and eventually throughout the world. Brussels sprouts came to the United States in the 18th century when they were brought to Louisiana by French settlers.
Where are Brussels sprouts grown today?
Today, Brussels sprouts are grown on all continents of Earth (apart from Antarctica). The largest producers of Brussels sprouts is the Netherlands and the United Kingdom at approximately 80,000 metric tons. There are about 32,000 tons produced in the United States and about 80% of these are used in the frozen food market. The majority of Brussels sprout production in the US is located in California.
Did you know?
Boiling Brussels sprouts reduces the level of anticancer properties. That is why most experts recommend steaming or stir frying this vegetable.