Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sweeter with Frost - Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are the king of the frost resistant varieties and can tolerate brief cold to 15 degrees. A few light frosts significantly sweeten the sprouts and remove the bitter taste that is often characteristic of summer sprouts. We don't harvest any sprouts until after first frost and the sprouts take the place of green beans in our market display.

So why do the sprouts get sweeter? The Brussels sprout plant replaces some of the fluid in the plant cells with fructose as a type of anti-freeze. Since these plants are some of the most frost hardy, they are also some of the most dramatic improvements in sweetness.

The Brussels sprouts are planted in late May or early June. About September 1 we remove the growing tip of the Brussels sprout stalk. This stops stem growth and forces the plants to fill out the sprouts. In early October they are pretty much filled and the harvest can begin.

Patients is rewarded with excellent sweet sprouts that we often harvest through Christmas.

No comments:

Post a Comment