An annual plant with a long growing season, Brussels sprouts do well in full sun, raised beds and very rich soil. The plants can grow very tall and become top-heavy — it’s best to stake them if this is the case.
Brussels sprouts are best when harvested after a couple of frosts; you can even wait until it snows to harvest. (If you like to incorporate them into your fall cooking, you won’t want to wait that long.) To harvest the sprouts, you simply twist them off of the stalk. Each plant should yield one or more quarts of sprouts.
We’ve already had a couple of frosty nights where I live, so I’m harvesting some of my Brussels sprouts. I enjoy them when they’ve been boiled in water, then doused in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. If you’re looking for something with more of a kick, check this recipe that’s just perfect for fall.
Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pears
- 2 slices bacon, preferably organic and preservative free
- 4 cups Brussels sprouts (clean and remove any wilted leaves, then trim and cut a cross in the bottom of each one; slice in half, if large)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 pear, cored and thinly sliced (peel first if it’s not organic)
- 1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon to drain and cool, but leave the bacon fat in the pan.
- Add the Brussels sprouts to the hot pan with the bacon fat. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring every now and then. The edges will start to get crisp, but don’t allow them to burn (add some water to the pan, if necessary) before the insides have a chance to cook through.
- Add the brown sugar and cook for another minute or two.
- Taste one of the sprouts to ensure it’s cooked through. If not, continue to cook for a few more minutes until tender.
- Remove from heat and add the pear and cheese. Crumble the bacon and add that, too. Add coarse sea salt to taste: you may or may not need it with the bacon.
— Winnie Abramson writes the organic gardening and food blog Healthy Green Kitchen.
Photo credit: Winnie Abramson