Purple Brussels Sprouts Leaves
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Purple brussels sprouts leaves are large, flat leaves. They are deep blue-green in color and have reddish-purple ribs and veins. The leaves grow in an alternating pattern similar to loose heading cabbage. They are crinkled and wavy and are firm in texture. They are best picked and eaten young when they have a mild, sweet, slightly nutty flavor with hints of cabbage and sweet kale.
Purple brussels sprouts leaves have a peak season in the winter months.
Purple brussels sprouts are botanically classified as Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera. They are a specialty variety not often found in stores, and which may also be referred to as Red brussels sprouts. The category includes the Rubine, Redarling, Red Ball and Falstaff varieties. Purple brussels sprouts leaves will retain most of their color when cooked, making them an attractive addition to a vegetable dish.
Purple brussels sprouts leaves are rich in vitamin K, which has inflammatory properties and which helps build bone density. They contain vitamin C and anthocyanin, which acts as a powerful antioxidant. They have a high level of glucosinolate compounds, which are believed to protect against cancer.
Purple brussels sprouts leaves may be eaten raw. They are best used shredded finely in salads. They are good cooked and may be steamed, boiled, braised, and sauteed. They can be a substitute in any recipe that calls for cabbage, and pair well with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, onion and shallots. They are delicious with the addition of bacon or pancetta. To use Purple brussels sprouts leaves, first remove the leaves from the stalk. Remove the leaves from the center rib, like kale, and discard the rib or save for use in stock. Cut the leaves into bite-sized portions. To store, keep the leaves in a loose plastic bag in the refrigerator, where they will be good for up to a week.
Brussels sprouts are a divisive vegetable, with some at the table loving them, and others hating them. Purple brussels sprouts are said to have won some detractors over, thanks to their mild, sweet taste.
Purple brussels sprouts were developed in the 1940s and were originally a cross between red cabbage and a green brussels sprout variety. They are more difficult to find in the United States, but are a popular choice for home vegetable plots in the United Kingdom, where new varieties of Purple brussels sprouts are being developed.