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sprouts-picAs I was walking around the Portsmouth market this past Saturday I became excited at the sight of brussels sprout stalks. Thanks to Zach’s Farm, I got to enjoy them a little early, as they are normally harvested in October. I admit it’s an odd vegetable to be obsessed with, but since I’ve had the Green Elephant’s brussels sprout appetizer I have been trying to cook the unpopular veg as tasty as they do.

Unfortunately, a survey conducted in 2008 revealed that brussels sprouts are the most-hated vegetable in America. So I wouldn’t blame you if you’re wondering why you should give brussels sprouts a spot on your plate. I’ll admit I wasn’t always a fan, but perhaps when you consider the nutritional content you’ll be more intrigued. Brussels sprouts are a part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and other green leaf vegetables.  These vegetables have many rich nutrients including vitamin C, plant protein, and soluble fiber. According to the Maryland Medical Center, the average diet contains far less than the 25 to 30 grams of fiber needed for good health. Fiber is important because it keeps your digestive system working normally and encourages regular bowel movements. In just one cup of brussels sprouts there are 4 grams of fiber—make it two cups and you’ve got 8 grams!

For my most recent batch I roasted the sprouts in a balsamic and maple reduction. First I washed them, making sure to rinse off any excess dirt. I then sliced the sprouts into two halves in order to cook both sides, and placed them on a baking sheet. For the reduction I used about ½ cup balsamic vinegar and 1-tablespoon maple syrup. When the mixture came to a boil I began to constantly whisk it. This is important in order to not burn the reduction. As it became more condensed I turned the burner off and let it sit for a few minutes. I then drizzled the sauce over the sprouts, deliberately covering each piece. I placed them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Whether you are a supporter or a critic, I urge you to give sprouts some love this fall (and try out my recipe)!

Some helpful links:

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-eating-brussels-sprouts-4461.html

http://www.foodrepublic.com/2013/02/19/11-things-you-probably-did-not-know-about-brussels-sprouts/#!slide=4

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