I have not had brussels sprouts since I was a kid. Growing up my mom would make us try new vegetables and we had to eat them, whether we liked them or not. As an adult, I am thankful that I was exposed to a variety of foods at a young age. However, as a kid there were many foods that I did not like and I’ve held on to that distaste through adulthood. After my experience yesterday though, I think it is time to revisit some of my old friends. As a kid I hated brussels sprouts. I would plug my nose as I chomped on the little cabbages and tried to keep myself from gagging. I would guzzle my milk after each bite, trying to drown out any remaining taste (Quite a drama queen, huh?)
So, you can imagine I was reluctant when I decided to try brussels sprouts, as one of the 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. I bought a pack of fresh brussels sprouts from Earth Fare. I figured that if I was going to try something for the health benefits, I may as well buy fresh instead of frozen. They looked very cute, like tiny baby cabbages.
I came home and googled “how to cook brussels sprouts” and I found a great recipe for Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts. Growing up I had always eaten boiled brussels sprouts that had been frozen, so I thought I would try something new.
I carefully cleaned them with my new fruit and vegetable wash that I blogged about last week and then cut off the stems and sliced them in half. My daughter joined me in the kitchen and helped me rub olive oil on the sprouts and set them face down in a skillet. I cooked them for 5 minutes on medium-low with the lid on the pot.
I was hesitant when I lifted the lid and smelled the sulfurous aroma of cabbage. I cautiously stuck my fork in one of the sprouts and braced myself for the bitter flavor. But, much to my surprise, I LOVED them! I ate one, then another, then another, then next thing I knew I had eaten about eight of them and truly enjoyed the flavor. The way that they were cooked caramelized the bottom of the sprouts and provided a slightly sweet flavor.
I served the brussels sprouts to my family for lunch, much to their chagrin. Can you believe my husband had never even tried a brussels sprout? My kids eyeballed them and whined “do I hafta?” After a few minutes of cajoling, they took a bite and actually LOVED them too! Who knew? My son ate all five of his and then went back to the stove for seconds and was disappointed that they were all gone!
The lesson here is that I should definitely keep serving different vegetables to my kids because they may just find one that they like! I’m definitely going to add brussels sprouts to our regular routine of vegetables at dinner.
I’m so glad that my family liked them because brussels sprouts (and all members of the cabbage family) provides more cancer-fighting nutrients than any other vegetable family! In fact, The American Cancer Society recommends adding these cruciferous vegetables to your diet on a regular basis to ward off cancer. Brussels sprouts also contain sinigrin, which suppresses the development of precancerous cells and persuades them to commit suicide (a process called apoptosis.)
Brussels sprouts are also high in isothiocyanates and sulforaphane, which fight cancer by inhibiting cell proliferation, neutralizing carcinogens and detoxifying environmental toxins. The sulforaphane also works by disarming damaging free radicals and fighting carcinogens. Research from the Department of Urology at Stanford University has even shown that sulforaphane is the most powerful inducer of “phase-2 enzymes”, which is the process that allows the disarming of these free radicals. Pretty awesome!
Have you ever warded off a certain food because you thought you didn’t like it, but then discovered that your taste buds have changed? Tell me about it!