Why Are They Called Brussels Sprouts?

called-brussels-sprouts Credit: E.J. West/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Brussels sprouts are named for the capital city of the country in which they first became popular, Brussels, Belgium. In Belgium, Brussels sprouts have been grown since the 13th century.

Brussels sprouts are a type of cabbage that is usually harvested in the fall. The crop takes about three months to mature and is usually planted in warm weather. They grow along the stem of the plant and mature from the bottom up. Although the most common type of Brussels sprout is green, there is also a red variety. People experience the taste of Brussels sprouts differently. While some people find them slightly sweet, others find them bitter. In the mid-20th century, the primary method of preparation for Burssels sprouts was to boil them, and they were not a revered vegetable. Julia Child, in her cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" called for cooking them in butter or cream. The turning point for Brussels sprouts in the United States came when they were paired with bacon by celebrity chef Mario Batali. Brussels sprouts are now served in a variety of ways, including as pizza toppers and on the stalk. In England, Brussels sprouts are a key component of holiday dinners.