If you are looking forward to a family Christmas in Chigwell, Woodford or Loughton you will no doubt be planning what to do with the traditional Brussel sprout. Love them or hate them there may well be a few facts about them that you don’t know.
Britons eat more Brussels sprouts than anyone else in Europe but two-thirds of our total sprout consumption occurs outside the festive season. Good for the UK’s health as an 80g serving of sprouts contains four times more vitamin C than an orange, and a cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains only about 60 calories10.
Did you know there are more than 110 different varieties of sprouts? Some of the top varieties like Albarus, Brodie and Kryptus, have been bred specifically for flavour. The area covered by Brussels sprout fields in the UK is the equivalent of 3,240 football pitches and the sprout industry is worth £650,000,000.
Famous sprout fans include former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and TV presenter Esther Rantzen, who attempted to break the world record for eating the most sprouts – but only managed five. Sprout fan Linus Urbanec from Sweden holds the current world record for the most Brussels sprouts eaten in one minute. He swallowed 31 on November 26, 2008.
Overcooking sprouts makes them smell like rotten eggs due to the high levels of sulforaphane they contain. On the other hand, roasted, sautéed or grilled sprouts can taste sweet and nutty – and delicious. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge reportedly ate Brussels sprouts on their honeymoon in the Seychelles – the vegetable is supposedly an aid to fertility because it is so high in folic acid.