Brussels Sprouts start to develop at the bottom of the main stalk first. Then the sprouts further up the stalk start to grow, and the last to develop are those sprouts at the top of the stalk.
It is important to cook even-sized sprouts , so they all require the same cooking time. If the sprout buttons were different sizes, the smallest ones would be overcooked and the largest ones may still be crunchy, when all cooked together.
To obtain even sized sprouts, only part of the stalk is picked. Picking always starts at the bottom of the stalk, where the sprouts are largest.
Sometimes the sprouts at the very bottom of the stalk do not develop
into tight buds, but blow out into loose leaves. It is best to remove
these loose sprouts, as soon as tight buttons appear above them.
The large, yellow leaves at the bottom of the sprout plant should be broken off and disposed of, on the compost heap.
The sprout buttons are picked individually, by pressing them downwards,
and slightly twisting, so that they snap off the stalk. Usually there
are about six sprouts on each stalk which are of a similar size.
At the start of the sprout harvesting season, the bottom sprouts will be
picked from each plant, as required.
At the very end of the season, the sprout stalks will look bare, with just a few sprout buttons at the very top of the stalk.
The Brussels sprout plants will produce green vegetables throughout the winter, if picked with care.