Brussels sprouts are cold and frost tolerant and are better tasting after several frosts. Transplant outside as soon as soil can be worked. Sprouts can be harvested whenever they reach ½” – 1 ½” and the lower leaves have begun to turn yellow. The buds mature from the bottom up, so begin harvesting your lowest sprouts first. Grab the sprout with 2 fingers and give a little twist, or use a sharp knife and cut individually.
If harvested gently, more spouts may grow where you picked last. Once all the sprouts are growing, snap off all the leaves from the bottom 6” of stem to encourage stem growth. Regular harvesting will help keep the plant producing until it dies. The best quality and yield of Brussels sprouts are obtained when temperatures are between 60°F -65°F.
Brussels Sprouts brassica oleracea var. gemmifera
Franklin Brussels Sprouts
Early maturing. Vigorous, mild flavor,
1 to 1 ½ inch, firm sprouts. Plants are
tall – 24-36 inches. Flavor is improved
with a few light frosts. Harvest 80 days.
Jade E (cross) Brussels Sprouts
Heavy yields of 1.5″ sprouts.
Harvest 80 days.
Brussels Sprouts culture –
Brussels sprouts are in the cabbage family. They are grown for their edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 1”-2” in diameter and look like miniature cabbages. A popular vegetable in Brussels, Belgium, it may have originated there. French settlers introduced Brussels sprouts to Louisiana in the 18th century. Thomas Jefferson grew them at his farm in Monticello.
The edible sprouts grow like buds in a helical pattern along the side of long, thick stalk that matures over several weeks from the lower to the upper part of the stalk. If sprouts are picked by hand, several harvests can be made of 5 to 15 sprouts at a time or you can cut the entire stalk at once. Each stalk can produce 2 – 3 lbs. If grown in the Fall, sprouts are sweetest after a good, hard frost.
Brussels sprouts belong to the same species that includes cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi. They are cruciferous and contain good amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fiber. When eaten, they are believed to protect against colon cancer, because they contain sinigrin (an anti-cancer compound). If cooking, you should note that boiling reduces the level of the anticancer compounds; however, steaming, microwaving, and stir frying do not result in significant losses. Overcooking them, however, will render them grey and soft, and they develop a strong flavor some dislike.
Brussels sprouts perform best when there is a cool spring and a mild summer. Once harvested, sprouts last three to five weeks if kept near freezing before wilting and discoloring, and about one to two weeks if kept in the refrigerator.