Where do Brussels sprouts get their name? Does it have anything to do with the capital region of Belgium? Do Brussels sprouts come from Brussels?
The Short Answer:
Yes, Brussels sprouts were originally grown in Brussels, Belgium.
The Long Answer:
Brussels sprouts are not popular with kids around the world. Those picky eater feeding these tiny cabbages to their dog under the table owe their disgust to Brussels, the capital region of Belgium.
Many believe that the earliest Brussels sprouts were cultivated in ancient Rome. The plant is actually native to the Mediterranean region, along with many other species of cabbage. The vegetable first came to the attention of northern Europeans in the 13th century, when they were grown primarily near Brussels.
There are many who question the name. Why name a vegetable after a city, and not go with something more accurate like calling them cabbage sprouts? That follows an old trend that precedes fast and reliable transportation when vegetables were named after the towns that they were grown in and around. Some other examples include Hamburg parsley and Argenteuil asparagus.
Choux de Bruxelles, or Brussels cabbage, is another example of a vegetable that is grown around that area and shares its name.
Brussels sprouts exploded in popularity in the 16th century, with the first written reference to them dating back to 1587. They were particularly popular in the southern part of the Netherlands, before spreading throughout most of northern Europe.
Brussels sprouts look like tiny cabbages, and they grow in temperatures that fall between 45- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. After planting, the crop is usually harvested between 90 and 180 days later. The sprouts grow from buds in a helical pattern along the sides of the stalks.
Some distant relatives of the Brussels sprout are cabbage, broccoli, kale, and collard greens. They are considered cruciferous vegetables.
In North America, Brussels sprouts were first brought over by French settlers who inhabited Louisiana. Today, most U.S. based production of Brussels sprouts occurs in California.
Do you love or hate Brussels sprouts? Do you have a recipe that actually made your kids enjoy them? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know.