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Resembling a mini cabbage, Brussels sprouts are indeed part of the cabbage family, and are unusual in that they grow beginning at the base of the stem and form upward. Crossbred from kale and other plants, we don’t know for sure where they actually originated, but they were quite popular in Brussels, Belgium in the 13th century, hence its name.
This highly nutritious vegetable is packed with protein and fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, thiamin, phosphorus and vitamins A, B-6, C and K. Brussels Sprouts are also loaded with potent antioxidents and anti inflammatories, which help reduce cancer, strengthen the immune system, lessen blood clots, balance digestion and improve heart health.
Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that you either love, or can’t stand, because most people don’t know the tastiest way to prepare them. Baking these ‘mini cabbages’ in the oven with a little oil and sea salt brings out their sweetness; although they can also be boiled or roasted, or used in stir-fry or soups. Carving an ‘x’ into the stem helps to cook sprouts more evenly, but don’t over cook, as that will ruin their flavor. Brussels sprouts can be eaten raw; however, since they contain sugars which can cause bloating and gas, sprouts are best served cooked.
A winter vegetable, you can start your St. Clare Heirloom Brussels Sprouts seeds in late September to February, at least three months before the last frost, for a Spring harvest, or direct sow seeds 4 months before the first Fall frost. Brussels sprouts require cooler temperatures between 45° and 75°F and will be quite bitter if grown in warmer weather, Brussels Sprouts love cooler weather and increase in flavor after a light frost or two.Many seasoned gardeners will tell you they have harvested the best Brussels Sprouts when there is snow on the ground! Tastiest when young and tender, harvest when still hard to the touch, and heads are firm, green, and 1 to 2 inches in diameter.
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