Harvesting and Storing Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprout plant
Brussels Sprout Plant

If you recall from many months ago, I grew Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts.  Anticipation is key with this vegetable because it gets a head start indoors, is transplanted in the Spring and for the most part is harvested in the Fall.

I am still learning about this vegetable!  Some varieties of this plant provide larger sprouts and some plants are taller.   You can extend the season by planting ones with different maturity dates.  For example, Territorial Seeds sells different varieties that mature between 80 and 200 days.   I will be preparing a Seed Chart soon for this vegetable so you can see the differences.  You can do a “Seed Chart” search in my blog so you can see the ones that I prepared so far.

This plant likes fish fertilizer/emulsion which I plan to use more consistently next year.   To be honest, I did not use any this year.  Some gardeners use bone meal as well.  Also, since Brussels sprouts are part of the cabbage family and can get invaded by some bad bugs, I grow my plants under cover in the Spring.

The sprouts mature from the bottom up the stem.  Each sprout grows in the crevice where the big leaf meets the stem.  To give the sprouts room to grow, you need to cut the leaf from below the sprout once it gets to be about 1/2 inch or more.   Be careful so you don’t cut the sprout!  Keep some leaves on top to provide protection from the summer sun and the fall frost.

Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts

You will have to judge when to harvest them depending on whether the sprouts will mature at 1 or 2 inches.  I just harvested my Brussels sprouts a few weeks ago once they looked like they were not getting any bigger.

Now it is time to eat the Brussels sprouts or blanch and freeze them.   While one of my plants did really well, the other two were less than desirable.   I removed even the tiny Brussels sprouts to use fresh on my salads which were yummy.  I saved the larger ones to saute.  In order to blanch the sprouts, you put them in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes depending on the size and then  put them in ice water for 2 minutes. After you drain the sprouts, you can freeze the sprouts individually by placing them on a cookie sheet  and putting them in the freezer for an hour.  After freezing them individually, you can store them together in a freezer container but just remove what you need to eat.



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