Their packages are small, but fresh Brussels sprouts deliver big flavor and plenty of nutritional goodness. They also serve up an amazing number of fun facts that every vegetable lover should know. Here’s a list of our 25 favorite things about these round, leafy wonders.
1. They really are named after Brussels, the capital of Belgium, where they were a popular 16th century crop.
2. The Brussels sprout was introduced to North America by 18th century French settlers in Louisiana.
3. By the early 1900s, the little vegetable became an established commercial crop in California.
4. The U.S. produces 70 million pounds of sprouts each year.
5. They look like mini cabbages because they’re members of the same cruciferous vegetable family.
6. The smallest Brussels sprouts are marble-sized morsels while larger varieties are as big as golf balls.
7. Colorful purple sprouts are the result of a hybrid developed from purple cabbage in the 1940s.
8. The sulforaphane that gives Brussels sprouts their unique flavor also helps lower cancer risks.
9. Brussels sprouts contain zeaxanthin, an antioxidant that’s considered important to eye health.
10. A little under one ounce of these vegetables provides 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.
11. Weighing in at just 26 calories per cup, Brussels sprouts are a delicious and nutritious diet food choice.
12. One 80-gram serving of these healthy veggies delivers four times more vitamin C than an orange.
13. Steam-cooking fresh Brussels sprouts actually enhances their cholesterol-lowering powers.
14. Recent reports hint at upcoming scientific evidence that the small veggies give a big boost to libidos.
15. The best Brussels sprouts sport tightly wrapped leaves, a bright green color and firm stems.
16. Brussels sprouts stay fresh in a plastic bag in the refrigerator vegetable drawer for as long as 10 days.
17. One cup holds an average of five Brussels sprouts, and they steam up in just six to eight minutes.
18. Carving an X in the bottom of stems before steaming helps sprouts cook more evenly.
19. A sulfur-like smell is a sure sign that Brussels sprouts have been overcooked.
20. Once steam-cooked sprouts cool down, they can be bagged and stored in the freezer for up to a year.
21. This versatile veggie tastes great grilled, stir-fried or roasted, and its size makes it a perfect snack food.
22. Linus Urbanect made a meal of 31 Brussels sprouts in just one minute back in 2008.
23. Bernard Lavery of the United Kingdom cultivated a sprout that weighed more than 18 pounds.
24. The little veggies supplied enough power to light up a Christmas tree on London’s Southbank in 2013.
25. California’s fertile fields produce more Brussels sprouts than any other state.