Roasted Pork Steaks, Brussels and Apple slices. Cooked with a sprinkling of ground black pepper, sea salt, garlic granules and a little sugar.
Roasted Pork Steaks with roasted brussel sprouts and roasted apple.
A little about the humble Brussels Sprout.
The Brussels sprout is a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages, grown for its edible buds.
The leaf vegetables are typically 1.5–4.0 cm (0.6–1.6 in) in diameter and look like miniature cabbages. The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium, and may have gained its name there.
Although native to the Mediterranean region with other cabbage species, Brussels sprouts first appeared in northern Europe during the 5th century, later being cultivated in the 13th century near Brussels, Belgium, from which they derived their name.
Its Group name Gemmifera (or lowercase and italicized gemmifera as a variety name) means ‘gemmiferous’ (bud-producing).
Brussels sprouts as they are now known were grown possibly as early as the 13th century in what is now Belgium. The first written reference dates to 1587. During the 16th century, they enjoyed a popularity in the southern Netherlands that eventually spread throughout the cooler parts of Northern Europe.
Brussels sprouts grow in temperature ranges of 7–24 °C (45–75 °F), with highest yields at 15–18 °C (59–64 °F). Fields are ready for harvest 90 to 180 days after planting. The edible sprouts grow like buds in helical patterns along the side of long, thick stalks of about 60 to 120 cm (24 to 47 in) in height, maturing over several weeks from the lower to the upper part of the stalk.
Sprouts may be picked by hand into baskets, in which case several harvests are made of five to 15 sprouts at a time, or by cutting the entire stalk at once for processing, or by mechanical harvester, depending on variety. Each stalk can produce 1.1 to 1.4 kg (2.4 to 3.1 lb.), although the commercial yield is about 900 g (2 lb.) per stalk.
Harvest season in temperate zones of the northern latitudes is September to March, making Brussels sprouts a traditional winter-stock vegetable. In the home garden, harvest can be delayed as quality does not suffer from freezing. Sprouts are considered to be sweetest after a frost.
This enabled Dutch seed companies to cross-breed archived low-bitterness varieties with modern high-yield varieties, over time producing a significant increase in the popularity of the vegetable.
In Continental Europe, the largest producers are the Netherlands, at 82,000 metric tons, and Germany, at 10,000 tons. The United Kingdom has production comparable to that of the Netherlands, but its crop is generally not exported.
Production of Brussels sprouts in the United States began in the 18th century, when French settlers brought them to Louisiana. The first plantings in California’s Central Coast began in the 1920s, with significant production beginning in the 1940s. Currently, several thousand acres are planted in coastal areas of San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties of California, which offer an ideal combination of coastal fog and cool temperatures year-round. The harvest season lasts from June through January.
Most US production is in California, with a smaller percentage of the crop grown in Skagit Valley, Washington, where cool springs, mild summers, and rich soil abounds, and to a lesser degree on Long Island, New York. Total US production is around 32,000 tons, with a value of $27 million.
About 80 to 85% of US production is for the frozen food market, with the remainder for fresh consumption. Once harvested, sprouts last 3–5 weeks under ideal near-freezing conditions before wilting and discoloring, and about half as long at refrigerator temperature. US varieties are generally 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in) in diameter.
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