Tracker Pixel for Entry

Brussels sprouts: a labor of love

by Annie White Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | All About Food | November 3rd, 2017

A farmer’s day is governed by the sun. Work starts on our farm as soon as we can see and continues until we can’t. That makes for long days during the growing season. Our days are filled with caring for our livestock, moving fences for our rotational grazing systems, and tending our gardens.

As we lose daylight in the fall, the sun sets on our farm work. Many tasks are completed in preparation for the winter that is soon to be upon us.

It froze this week here on the farm. That effectively ends our 2017 growing season.

The afternoon of the forecasted frost, my kids and I were doing our best impersonation of squirrels, going through the garden and harvesting as much of the remaining vegetables as we could. We gathered ten gallons of tomatoes, two gallons of garden huckleberries, a basket of peppers, and four gallons of tomatillos. We also found a few stray broccoli side shoots and a rogue cucumber.

Everything had to come in or perish in the frost. There are a few vegetable crops that can tolerate a frost and even some that need a frost to mature. These include pumpkins, squash, and Brussels sprouts. We don’t plant every crop every year in our garden, it depends on how much we have stored in canned and frozen storage. I didn’t plant pumpkins or squash, but I do have Brussels sprouts.

Brussels sprouts are a labor of love. Unlike their cousins in the cabbage family (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), they have an extremely long growing season, one hundred days from transplanting to harvest. And here in the northern plains, you need to start the transplants six to eight weeks before planting outdoors after the last hard frost.

Brussels sprouts require a frost, it adds sweetness and matures the flavor. A farmer spends the whole of spring, summer, and most of fall weeding, tending, watering, and caring for the plants in hopes that if all goes well, the last thing you will fetch out of your garden is a stalk of small round orbs.

My kids helped harvest our Brussels sprouts, twisting off each sprout from the stalk. As we were harvesting, my eight year old son said, “I didn’t know these plants were food. I thought they were just something we had to weed!”

I encouraged the kids to sample the fresh sprouts. And then I had to scold them, “Don’t eat them all! I want to freeze some!”

We ended up with three gallons of Brussels sprouts from our 16 plants. We ate one gallon fresh and I blanched and froze two gallons to enjoy this winter.

Why? Why would someone invest so much time and energy in Brussels sprouts? Haven’t kids everywhere gagged over just the thought of eating them? As is my opinion with most foods, the reason people don’t like them is because they haven’t had a good Brussels sprout.

They aren’t difficult to prepare, and as a farmer who tends them for almost six months out of the year, they are worth every minute. Our family’s traditional Christmas meal isn’t complete without Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries. My kids ask for seconds…of Brussels sprouts!

In the fall, a delicious method is to trim and halve the sprouts and, combined with other fall vegetables like squash, potatoes, onions, and carrots, toss with a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasonings and roast. But for everyday eating, I love a simple sauté.

Sautéd Brussels Sprouts

(yield about 4 cups)

Ingredients

6 slices of bacon – I prefer pastured pork bacon

½ cup of chopped onion or shallot

3-6 cloves of minced or chopped garlic

1 ½ pounds of Brussels Sprouts – trimmed and halved

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Chop the bacon into 1 inch pieces. Fry over medium high heat until it begins to brown and has rendered out the fat. Bacon continues to cook after you remove it from the pan, so it’s best to err on the side of not-quite-done. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon or a fork to a paper towel lined plate. Depending on how much fat remains, you may wish to pour off some of it. You want a couple of tablespoons left in the pan. Add the sprouts and toss to coat. Continue cooking on medium high heat for about 5 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add the bacon, onions, and garlic, cook and toss for another 4-5 minutes. Finish by seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste.

Serve hot and enjoy your Brussels sprout ecstasy.

It’s Brussels sprouts season! Find your local farmers market or food co-op and purchase fresh sprouts. They are easy to blanch and freeze so you can enjoy them all year long. And perhaps these long awaited delicacies of the fall will become a traditional family favorite on your table as well.

Be and eat well.

[Editor’s note: More of Annie White Carlson’s work can be found at www.morningjoyfarm.com or www.almostannie.com]

RECENTLY IN

All About Food

Tracker Pixel for Entry Heidi3 Tracker Pixel for Entry Kylie1 Tracker Pixel for Entry Brifki1 Tracker Pixel for Entry District41Dems Tracker Pixel for Entry Ruth1 Tracker Pixel for Entry District21

Recently in:

FARGO – Ellen Chaffee wanted to know how much lobbyists were spending to influence North Dakota legislators. Online searches ended in dead ends. As the founders of North Dakotans for Public Integrity, Chaffee and Dina Butcher…

by Ryan Jankeryanjanke@hpr1.comZero Gravity Alternative Fitness will present their annual Halloween showcase this Saturday at their studio in south Fargo. The event, aptly named Poletergeist II, is a chance for students and staff…

Wednesday, October 24, 6:30 - 8 p.m.Atonement Lutheran Church, 4601 University Drive S., FargoBring the kids for candy and fun! This family-friendly halloween event has fun for everyone! There will be trunk or treating outside, a…

This weekend I was showing a friend of mine some Fargo hotspots. He was visiting from the West Coast, so naturally I was playing up the Midwest’s many charms. He mentioned that one thing that differed from the West Coast was the…

Gadfly

Goodbye Democracy!

by Ed Raymond

How today’s “christians” hammered the nails into the hands and feet of christHistorian Christopher Browning, who has spent a lifetime studying the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and the World War II era of Europe, has expressed…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

by Ryan Jankeryan.janke78@gmail.com The scent of sauerkraut will be in the air next Wednesday when the Wishek Association of Commerce hosts the 93rd Annual Sauerkraut Day festival in Wishek, ND.The city of Wishek is situated 30…

We started our interview with JBOT, Captured! By Robots front man, captive and creator by playing a small bout of phone tag. You see, his internet went out and that sent his mind racing. Once we touched base, he said, “For a…

Damien Chazelle’s fourth feature follows the trajectory common to the careers of many ambitious and talented filmmakers honored with Academy Awards: the dissipation of rawness and experimentation as budgets, expectations, and…

I came to Mineral Point, Wisconsin for the art. The tiny town among the rolling hills about 50 miles southwest of Madison is home to just 2,491 souls and 25 art galleries and studios. Any community with that much creative energy…

by Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.com“Our mission is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative storytelling.” This statement posted on Theatre B’s website and tacked to their studio wall in…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

Beer Snob

Warm up with a hot toddy

by HPR Contributor

by Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.com Fall is once again upon us. The leaves are turning, gardens have been pulled, and Summer’s heat has waned into Autumnal frosts. Along with the change of seasons comes a change of seasonal flavors.…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

There are two ways to look at the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Patrick Ward that the North Dakota Public Service Commission dismiss the complaint against that (expletive deleted) Meridian Energy for failing to get a…