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Vegetables
Brussels Sprouts

Featured Recipes: Gardening Tips:
Brussels Sprouts for Christmas
Most of the brassica family—such as kale, cabbage, broccoli and mustard greens—are famously frost tolerant, but Brussels sprouts are among the most stalwart. Even when ice and snow cause the big floppy leaves to sag, those little elfin cabbages clustered about the stem are still firm and sweet. In Maine we count on them as an early winter treat, and it has become a tradition to have buttered Brussels sprouts on our Christmas table. If the weather turns beastly we pick whole stems and keep them in a cold room for December 25.
Harvesting Sprouts
If you want your Brussels Sprouts to mature quickly and uniformly, nip off the top at the time the lowest ones on the stem are nearly harvest size. Bear in mind however that this will remove the protective leaves at the top of the stem. These would normally droop down over the sprouts, protecting them from frost. So, if you want a long, late harvest, leave the top alone. You’ll be able to pick the sprouts all during the fall and early winter. We’ve even served them on Christmas Day! If very cold weather threatens, cut the entire stalk, bring indoors and store it in the fridge. It will keep for weeks that way!



These mini-Brassicas grow on long stiff stems, vaguely resembling Martian walking sticks. Faithful fans love them, particularly when their innate sweetness is brought out after a frost. The sprouts make ‘antifreeze’ to cope with the cold, and the antifreeze happens to be sugar! Raise as transplants, sowing Brussels sprout seeds in a cool greenhouse or in a protected growing area, planting out into the garden 12 weeks before the first fall frost. Resist the temptation to grow giant sprouts! Enjoy them young and tender, harvesting while small and tightly-wrapped low on the stem, allowing the higher ones to remain. Or, pinch the growing top and harvest the entire stem. You can convert easily your whole family into Brussels Sprouts aficionados. Serve Union Square Cafe’s Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon (thunderous applause). Or, roast whole Brussels Sprouts to detonate their sweet nuttiness: toss them lightly in olive oil, coarse sea salt and black pepper. Roast them for 12 minutes on a metal tray in a preheated 425°F oven. Flip them over, and roast for another 12 minutes until sweetly caramelized (pop in mouth like candy). For more hearty fare, try our Heavenly Sprouts: steamed, dried and sautéed with bacon batons and sliced onions.

Average seed life: 3 years

     
#1450 Diablo Brussels Sprouts: 100-110 days
This devilishly delicious Brassica is the variety of Brussels sprouts to grow: reliable and disease resistant. Our dependable Dutch hybrid grows solid sprouts on sturdy stems just over 2’ tall. By the time they’ve been hit by a few frosts, Diablo becomes unbelievably sweet and nutty tasting and is sure to convert skeptics into Brussels sprout lovers. Cut an ‘X’ on the bottom of each with a sharp knife and steam lightly until bright green. Or, in a heavy pan, sauté onions slowly until caramelized. Add steamed Diablo and a little sautéed bacon. (F1.)

Packet of 45 Seeds / $4.25

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#1460 Falstaff Purple Brussels Sprouts: 90-100 days
Prolific, hardy Falstaff succeeds where other colorful varieties fail. Its gleaming purple-red and green sprouts taste better and have a milder, more nutty flavor than common varieties. And these lovelies retain their rich color when lightly steamed, boiled or sautéed. A big kiss of frost intensifies its color and ambrosial flavor. (F1.)

Packet of 50 Seeds / $4.95

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