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:

AMHERST, SOUTH DAKOTA – Four days before TransCanada anticipated obtaining permits for the Keystone XL project, the company’s older pipeline leaked, spilling more than 210,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil into the South Dakota…

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans individuals who have lost their lives due to violence this year. It is a day where we read their names and remember them—not how they died, but how they lived. This is also…

Thursday, November 16, 7-9pmUnglued, 408 Broadway N, FargoProof Artisan Distillers and Unglued present a craft party with four distinct projects and help from artists Ashley from AENDEE and Nicole Rae, not to mention a special…

“The experience of all ages has proved that the people constantly give away their liberties.” - John Adams“Man’s dishonesty with himself is his greatest enemy. When he makes a mistake, his memory admits, ‘I have done…

The thoughts and prayers of politicians will finally be answeredWe have had 307 mass shootings (four kills or more) so far in 2017, including the last one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 mortals attending church, aged 18…

For the third week in a row, our panel of judges were out on the town with a thirst for cocktails and a focus on presentation, flavor, and creativity. This week’s adventures took us to a couple of hotspots in south Fargo, as the…

Colder weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice and more are some of the few things that come to mind when many think of fall. But fall is about much more than sugary lattes and scarves, and you can fully indulge in fall flavors at…

I’m told that there is nothing quite like a live Green Jelly show, where anarchy and foam puppets reign. So perhaps it’s in the spirit of the upcoming show that my intended interview with the mastermind and vocalist behind the…

On Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm, the Fargo Theatre hosted a screening of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the remarkable humanitarian efforts of the North Dakota businessman and founder, in…

Would you like to escape your stressful daily life with a relaxing arts event? Do you like to meet with old friends and make new ones? Or maybe you would like to start your Christmas and Holiday shopping early. FMVA has the event…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…