EAT BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND LEAVES FOR GOOD HEALTH AND SUPER NUTRITION
I grew up in Nigeria but shortly lived and attended school in Cameroon. Through out my days in Nigeria and Cameroon, I never saw or heard of any crop called 'sprout' or 'sprouts and its leaves!'
Now I know the reason why it could not be found in Nigeria or Cameroon. The reason is because it is a kind of crop that grows in the Mediterranean or cold regions of the world and certainly not in the tropics!
I must be sincere, I only came to know and eat it in United Kingdom. Yes, I spent my first Christmas celebration in an English family home. It was during the Christmas lunch I first came by it.
I anxiously craved to eat my first Christmas lunch made up of sliced Turkey, roast potatoes, carrot, gravy and then some small roundish green matter which I have never seen in my life. That roundish green matter was Brussels sprouts!
I quickly ate every thing and innocently decided to eat the sprouts after I had devoured every thing on my plate. Little did I know, that the green matter or sprouts tastes were bitter! I took a bite, chew it but it suck in my throat! I looked at everybody at the table and found they have all eaten theirs.
As at that moment, every eye centered on me. The lady of the house took a candid look at me and blurted out, "Don't you like it?" "Yea, yea, I like it!" I responded. Feeling sorry for myself, I quickly shoved the whole sprouts into my mouth and closed my eyes in disgust. From that day, I swore never to eat the vegetable again.
Frankly speaking, for years, I never liked to see or eat that vegetable until I started to research for healthy eating crops and vegetables. By accident, I read an article in a magazine about the medicinal and nutritional values of Brussels sprouts. After reading the article, my eyes seem to lit up.
From that moment, I started to eat the leaves which are soft and tender when cooked. I also found that the leaves are as good as Nigerian fluted pumpkin (ugu) leaves. The deeper I go into my researches, the more I come to like and eat Brussels sprouts and I soon discovered what I lost over the years for not eating the crop.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS(Brassica Oleracea)
Brussels sprouts are small leafy green buds which resembles miniature cabbages in appearance. The buds are exceptionally rich in protein,dietary fibre,Vitamins, mineral and antioxidants which are very useful in combating and preventing many types of illness including heart problems and some kinds of cancers.
THE LEAVES ARE NOT ONLY NUTRITIOUS BUT SOFT AND TENDER WHEN
The leaves can be eaten on their own as healthy eating diets as much as broccoli, spinach, asparagus; fluted pumpkin leaves as well as other dark green leafy vegetables. The leaves contain many medicinal and nutritional values as the buds and can be equally eaten in combination of other crops and vegetables such as mushroom, carrots, runner beans, broccoli and numerous other vegetables.
The leaves can also be eaten with boiled rice, yam, sweet potatoes; green or ripped plantains. They can be used in making any kind of soup including Nigerian soups such as Egusi, Ewedu, Edika-ekong, Ofe owerri to mention a few. I have cooked yam pottage and different types of soups with the leaves and they are super! The leaves equally contain manganese, iron, magnesium, Vitamins K and C like spinach.
HISTORICAL BACK GROUND:
No one including the historians, botanists and food gourmets can accurately explain the origin of this special crop. However, the first mention of it was traced to the late 16th century and they are believed to be native to Belgium especially to a region near its capital, Brussels after which they are named.
Brussels sprouts are one of the most popular vegetables in United States and Mediterranean Europe. They are largely cultivated in California, USA and nearly all over Europe and many other cold countries of the world.
Brussels sprouts grow in cool weather and light frost conditions. In short, it can be called Autumn and Winter crop.
In structure, each head consists of cluster of stiff leaves superimposed in compact layers giving it a round or globular shape as in cabbage. In general, Brussels sprouts are harvested when the lower buds mature and reach about an inch in size,normally firm,compact and dark green in colour. Botanically, the Brussels sprouts belong to the same brassica family which includes cabbage, broccoli and Kale.
Some people believe that it can only be eaten during Christmas but this is not true. Brussels sprouts can be eaten all year round for its medicinal and nutritional values. Normally, the crop can be classified as seasonal because it is generally harvested and eaten from August through out winter to
Spring. That is around late month of March!
I had a discussion with some Nigerians who thought Brussels sprouts can not be found in Nigeria. That was in the past because I found them being sold in Owerri, Aba, Jos, Abuja; Port Harcout and Lagos to mention a few. The buds and leaves are equally a part of healthy eating diet for all Nigerians as well as for the Nollywood stars! You can find the crops among many Green Grocers in Nigeria.I advice you where ever you may be, find Brussels sprouts and add them to the list of your healthy eating diets!
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