Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts & more: Fall is the season for fresh, local cruciferous vegetables

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Summer may be over, but the harvest continues. When tomatoes, summer squash, and sweetcorn end their season, cruciferous vegetables fill displays at farms and farmers markets. A subgroup of the Brassicaceae family, many – like Brussels sprouts – do better after a touch of frost.

Forget the Latin genus and species stuff. This group of vegetables includes cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, bok choy, and similar dark green leafy vegetables…what we call fall vegetables.

These are the vegetable health experts telling you to eat lots of them. They are a source of vitamins (A, folic acid, C, E, K), minerals (iron, potassium, calcium), phytochemicals (carotenoids, glucosinolates and sulforaphane), polyphenols) and fiber.

The key to enjoying cruciferous vegetables is cooking them to enhance flavor and nutritional value. “Boiling, for example, can leach out some of the phytonutrients,” says farmer Lee Jones of The Chef’s Garden in Milan, Ohio. “We therefore recommend consuming cruciferous vegetables lightly steamed until lightly colored to retain the most beneficial nutrients.”

The Chef’s Garden offers a few recipes to make the most of the popular Brussels sprouts.

Brussels sprouts are often sold on a stick at farmer’s and farmer’s markets. They come in green and red colors. (Photo by Michelle Demuth-Bibb, The Chef’s Garden)

Brussels sprouts roasted with garlic

Courtesy of the Culinary Vegetable Institute at The Chef’s Garden

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1/4 cup EVO olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Pour oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Fry the sprouts, cut-side down, in a single layer in the pan.

3. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper.

4. Cook undisturbed until the sprouts begin to brown on the underside. Transfer to a lined sheet metal tray. Repeat until all sprouts are seared.

5. Place the tray in the oven to roast. Shake the bowl about every 5 minutes or until the sprouts are fairly brown and tender, between 10 and 20 minutes.

6. Taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Season with vinegar and serve hot. Served 4

Balsamic Maple Brussels Sprouts

Courtesy of the Culinary Vegetable Institute at The Chef’s Garden

  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

3. Place Brussels sprouts in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes. Turn the baking sheet halfway through cooking.

4. While the sprouts are roasting, prepare the balsamic glaze. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high. Add balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes. Stir frequently until the sauce thickens. About 4 to 5 minutes.

5. Take the Brussels sprouts from the top and drizzle with the glaze.

6. Salt and pepper to taste.

7. Serve hot. 2 serves.

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