Most of my kids love Brussels sprouts. My family likes them and they are one of my very favorites. When I was a kid I hated them, but most people over cook them and that makes them really really not yummy. When they are lightly cooked and fresh tasting, they are amazing!
We planted some Brussels sprouts in the spring and it took forever for them to produce so we cut them down in the heat of the summer. Any greens, or cole crops can become bitter when harvested in the heat. For my Brussels sprouts, a quick blanch was all it took to take the bitterness out of them. If your sprouts aren’t bitter, no need for that step.
I cut down four stalks of Brussels sprouts. This is what they looked like piled in a wheel barrow. Before I started growing them, I never knew how they grew. I was amazed that the plant was this big!
I cut the leaves off of the stalks. This is how the little sprouts are growing down in there. So cute.
Then I used a sharp knife to cut them off the stalk.
I washed the sprouts and prepared a pan of boiling water to blanch them in. I added salt to the water which also helps remove bitterness from greens. I blanched them for 3 minutes.
Then I plunged them into ice water.
Once they had completely cooled in the ice water, I drained them. They are delicious at this point. You can make them into a salad or just eat them plain like this.
Next I cut one piece of bacon into small pieces and browned it in the skillet. I added the Brussels sprouts and sautéed them in the skillet for about 2 minutes until they were just tender, but still bright green. I use salt and pepper to taste.
Brussels sprouts are delicious raw, boiled, sautéed, or roasted. I have never tried them any way I didn’t like them except for over cooked. I know some pretty picky eaters that enjoyed them with this bacon method. I cook a lot of vegetables with a piece of bacon for flavor because it helps picky kids take interest in them. But I cook them for my family and my kids without bacon and they still enjoy them. Just salt, pepper and olive oil and throw them in the oven until they are lightly brown on the edge, or grate some parmesean cheese over the top as they finish roasting and that is delicious as well. If you don’t like Brussels sprouts, try cooking fresh ones yourself and if you don’t over cook them, I’m willing to bet you will like them too.
The kids, my family, and I love broccoli any way you can cook it, but something about roasting vegetables makes them taste AMAZING. Roasted broccoli is delicious with just salt, pepper, and olive oil, and it also tastes great with a few simple additions. Here is our number one favorite way to eat it.
Before you roast the broccoli, cut it up into small bite size pieces.
Place it all on a cookie sheet. I usually don’t fill my pan this full but in the summer, well…I need more food to feed these people, so this one is pretty packed. It roasts faster if the pieces aren’t touching like this.
Sprinkle a few tablespoons of olive oil over the broccoli pieces and then sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Grate some parmesean cheese over the top. I use about 1/4 cup. Then I use the same small grater to grate a clove of garlic over it as well.
Toss it by hand until it’s well combined. Put it in a 400 degree oven until it’s dark green and the edges have a tiny bit of brown on them. It’s easy to over cook broccoli so be careful to watch it. When it’s not crowded on the pan, it takes 15-20 minutes to roast, when it’s crowded up, it takes longer. Dump it in a serving dish (or like me a mixing bowl) and serve it up.
What’s your favorite way to eat broccoli?
A few days ago I asked readers of the Facebook page to send me questions they wondered about for me to answer, so here goes:
1. Leslie B Reynolds asks “Do you ever have kids that refuse vegetables?”
That’s a great question, and the answer to that is a resounding YES! Most kids begin uninterested in most of what I serve because it is unfamiliar to them. Over time as they help cook veggies, grow veggies and just the simple repetition of seeing veggies, they end up trying them and find out they like them. I just keep putting them on their plate and let them decide when they are ready to try them. Some kids that are very picky eaters never learn to like many things, but they all learn to like some new things which is a win in my book!
2. Little Big Harvest asks “What is your favorite ‘fun’ garden activity with the kids?”
There are so many things I enjoy doing with the kids in the garden. When I asked them, they all replied “picking stuff” and a few said “picking stuff and planting stuff”. For me, watching them be amazed is the very best part of gardening with them. Seeing their faces and watching their excitement is very rewarding for me. As far as activities go, my favorite is finding caterpillars. We put them in a jar, bring them in, and continue to feed them the host plant we found them on. Them we get to watch metamorphoses. Nothing can beat the amazement involved in that!
3. Yavonna Wright Bolding asks “Who are the people who test soil and do they come out or do you have to take some in ?”
Here in Oklahoma the OSU extension services will test soil for you. You can mail in a sample or take it in to the office to have it tested. Call your local county extension service office to find out where you take it in your area.
4. Sharica Cole asks, “What are some fun ways to help children tell the difference between different plants? And which garden plants are the safest?”
Repetition is the way to teach children to tell the difference between plants. Besides spending time talking in the garden, we use many pictures that we find in our curriculum, online, and in books and magazines to make it fun. Kids will pick up the information fairly quickly and I am learning right along with them. Many plants are poisonous. The nightshade family which include potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant have extremely poisonous leaves as do some other plants. I always teach the kids not to eat anything unless they ask. If I am unsure of the plant’s safety, I will tell them, since I’m not sure, we better not eat it. The safest things are plants that can be eaten from root to leaf tip such as cabbage and other brassicas or vines like peas and sweet potatoes.
I love your questions and comments, so please ask away if you want to know anything.