Are you a Brussels sprouts lover? Then you may be interested in growing your own Brussels sprouts! Growing your veggies is fun, and Brussels sprouts are perfect for beginners. However, there are a few things you need to learn first, including how to harvest Brussels sprouts.
If sautéed or perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts are recipes in your repertoire, why not take Brussels sprouts harvesting into your own hands? Knowing how to harvest Brussels sprouts is essential to get the most tender, flavorful heads.
Contrary to what you may think, harvesting Brussels sprouts is quite a simple process. All you need is the right equipment and a couple of guidelines, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a master on how to harvest Brussels sprouts.
How to Harvest Brussels Sprouts
- Harvest sprouts by beginning at the bottom of the plant and picking off sprouts about the size of a marble or larger. Continue the harvest, moving up the stalk.
- Sprouts grow at the base of each leaf close to the plant’s main stem. Grasp each sprout with two fingers and give a twist to pull it away, or use garden scissors, but don’t cut too close to the stem.
- If you want to harvest most of the sprouts on a plant at once, wait until the lower sprouts are about ½ inch in diameter, then cut off the top of the plant about two weeks before you want to harvest.
- Removing the top leaves and the growing tip will direct the plant’s energy into maturing sprouts.
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- Gently twist them off the stalk when they’re 1 – 2 inches in diameter.
- For the tastiest sprouts possible, have them mature in cool weather.
- Prune the plant so it can focus its energy on the sprouts.
- Don’t rinse Brussels sprouts before refrigerating them. Instead, rinse them right before using them.
- Before you freeze Brussels sprouts, blanch them.
- Cook frozen sprouts without thawing them first.
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When do you harvest Brussels sprouts?
Start picking after the first frost and continue into early winter in cold-winter regions. Sprouts become sweeter and more flavorful after they’ve been touched by frost. Sprouts can be harvested from beneath the snow.
Brussels sprouts planted in late summer or fall can be harvested all winter in mild-winter regions.
How many times can you harvest Brussels sprouts?
You can get 50 Brussels sprouts from one plant if everything is done right. Brussels sprouts grow food their first year and flowers the following year. After harvesting all of its sprouts, you can keep growing a Brussels sprout plant for seeds but not for more sprouts.
Do Brussels sprouts grow back after harvesting?
During harvest, pick off soft and undersized sprouts even if you don’t plan to eat them; also, remove leaves below the sprouts you’ve picked; this will keep the plant growing tall and producing new sprouts. A single plant will produce about 100 sprouts over 2 to 3 months.
How do you pick fresh Brussels sprouts?
Brussels sprouts mature from the bottom of the plant upward so that the lowest ones will be ready first. When harvesting, start by picking those that are lower on the stalk and work your way upwards. Twist or snap off the buds, or cut them with a knife at the base where the sprout meets the stem.
Do you remove leaves from Brussels sprouts?
The sprouts are ready to harvest when the heads are 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm.) across, firm, and green. This is also when to prune the leaves of Brussels sprouts as you remove the flower sprouts. Remove any yellowing leaves to allow the plant to expend all its energy to produce new sprouts and leaves.
Where should you store Brussels sprouts?
Store unwashed sprouts wrapped in a moist towel in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper section of the refrigerator. Refrigerated sprouts will keep for 3 to 5 weeks.
You can store sprouts individually or attached to the whole stalk. If you store the whole stalk, wrap a moist paper towel around the stub to extend storage.
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Can you freeze Brussels sprouts?
Blanching your Brussels sprouts before freezing them will preserve their color, taste, and nutrition.
- Boil the Brussels sprouts for four minutes.
- Could you put them in the strainer?
- Dump them in the ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Please put them in the colander and pat them dry to prevent ice crystals and damage to their texture.
- Could you put them in a freezer bag?
- Store them in your freezer.
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Is it safe to eat Brussels sprout leaves?
Leaves from the Brussels sprouts plant are edible but thicker and tougher than cabbage, so they are best chopped and steamed for serving.
How can you make your sprouts mature more quickly?
Every Brussels sprout plant has an upper growing tip. If you remove this tip, the plant will focus its energy on growing bigger sprouts.
Do this with clean pruning shears when the sprouts are 0.5 – 1 inch in diameter. This method can also make your sprouts mature more quickly, which is great when a hard freeze comes.
Additional Tips on How to Harvest Brussel Sprouts
- The key to getting firm, sweet heads is letting them mature in cool or frosty weather. In contrast, hot or dry weather can make them bitter.
- During harvest, pick off soft and undersized sprouts even if you don’t plan to eat them; also, remove leaves below the sprouts you’ve picked; this will keep the plant growing tall and producing new sprouts.
- Sprouts left on the plant for too long will become yellow, and the tightly wrapped leaves will loosen. Plants will produce quickly at first, but production will slow as the weather gets colder and colder.
- Fully mature sprouts can remain on the plant in cold weather; harvest sprouts as needed.
- To protect plants from hard freezes, bury them up to their top leaves in straw and pull back the straw as you want to harvest. If temperatures drop below 20°F (-6°C), complete the harvest and store the sprouts.