TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs

December 17, 2010

Recipe: Sprouts with Chestnuts

Filed under: brassicas — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 6:23 pm

This recipe for sprouts with chestnuts is perfect for Christmas, & will feed 8 – 10 people.
Ingredients:

  • 1.5kg Brussels sprouts
  • 250g vacuum-packed chestnuts
  • 100g butter
  • nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper 

Method:

  • trim the sprouts
  • halve the chestnuts
  • add the sprouts to a pan of boiling, salted water & cook for 7 minutes
  • drain the sprouts
  • melt the butter in a pan
  • toss the chestnuts in the butter until they are warm, then add the drained sprouts
  • sprinkle with fresh nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste
  • stir the mixture so that the sprouts are well coated with butter
  • serve in a warm dish

This recipe for sprouts with chestnuts will encourage everyone to eat their sprouts!

July 18, 2010

How to Grow Brussels Sprouts

Filed under: brassicas — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 7:22 pm

Brussels Sprouts are a traditional winter vegetable and the plants can stay outside all winter. 

sprouts in snow

sprouts in snow

To grow Brussels Sprouts:

The Brussels Sprout plants prefer soil to be:

  • dug in autumn
  • firmed well down before the seedlings are transplanted
  • fertile – compost or well rotted farm yard manure can be mixed in when dug in autumn
  • not acid – add lime if necessary

Planting out seedlings:

  • plant so lowest leaves are just above surface
  • firm in well
  • leave about 60-80cm (2-2.5ft) between plants
  • water well after planting
  • cover with protective netting against insects & birds

Looking after Brussel Sprouts:

  • keep weeds down by hoeing regularly
  • keep birds off
enviromesh-over-brassica

enviromesh-over-brassica

  • watch out for cabbage whites and aphids
caterpillars-on-sprout

caterpillars-on-sprout

  • stake the plants if they are blowing in the wind
staking-sprouts

staking-sprouts

Harvest Brussels Sprouts:

  •  when the lowest buttons are the size of a walnut 
big-sprouts-below

big-sprouts-below

brussels-sprout-stalk

brussels-sprout-stalk

  • the top third of the stem are picked last
  • the sprout tops can be broken off & eaten as greens around Christmas time
sprout-top

sprout-top

April 6, 2010

End of Sprout Harvest

Filed under: brassicas — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 9:16 pm

The Brussel Sprout harvest has come to an end.  The sprouts on the stalk have started to blow, puff out, and will soon be producing flowers and shoots.

pigeon-on-sprouts

pigeon-on-sprouts

Pigeons have been eating the sprout leaves and making quite a mess of the plants.

pecked-leaves

pecked-leaves

We have been clearing away the winter vegetables, to make room for our new 2010 vegetables. 

clearing-sprout-patch

clearing-sprout-patch

The brussel sprouts have been pulled up and will be left on the compost heap to rot.

binning-sprout-plants

binning-sprout-plants

In the Channel Islands the sprout stalks are dried and turned into walking sticks. 

An antique, 32 inch long, walking stick made from a sprout stalk was sold on ebay in March 2010 for £75.

Now the end of the sprout harvest has come, the Brussel sprout plants have been pulled up to make way for lettuce and radish.

December 30, 2009

Deer Damage Vegetable Garden

Filed under: pests&diseases — Tags: , , , — TopVeg @ 1:19 am

The deer have been eating the exposed green leaves whilst the snow was on the ground and they have done considerable damage in the vegetable garden.

sprout-leaves-eaten-by-deer

sprout-leaves-eaten-by-deer

The deer have eaten the Brussels sprout leaves and some tops.

deer-damaged-sprouts

deer-damaged-sprouts

It is the Brussels sprout plants at the end of the rows which have suffered.

deer-eat-sprout-row

deer-eat-sprout-row

The cabbage had a better covering of snow, but a couple must have been sticking out far enough to be tempting!

cabbage-eaten-by-deer

cabbage-eaten-by-deer

The cabbages are now covered with a net just in case!

cabbage-in-snow

cabbage-in-snow

It is nice to see the deer, and so far we can afford to share some greens with them.

deer-full-of-garden

deer-full-of-garden

Do you know of anyone else suffering damage from deer in the vegetable garden?

December 18, 2009

Sprouts are rich in Vitamin C

Filed under: brassicas — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 6:28 pm

Sprouts are rich in vitamin C.

According to today’s Daily Mail a  single sprout contains four times as much vitamin C as an orange.

brussels-sprouts

brussels-sprouts

8 Brussels sprouts make up one portion, and will count as one of the 5 a Day vegetables.

sprouts-with-bacon

sprouts-with-bacon

This  sprout supper is quite delicious, (and can be varied by adding a few cooked chestnuts), and very healthy as sprouts are so rich in Vitamin C.

December 16, 2009

Black sooty mould on Sprouts

Filed under: brassicas — Tags: , , , — TopVeg @ 10:30 am

Black sooty moulds are appearing on Brussel Sprouts.

brussels-sprouts

brussels-sprouts

  • The black sooty mould can be sticky and is the result of a whitefly attack.
  • Cabbage whitefly overwinters on brussel sprouts as adult insects.
  • Adult whitefly and their nymphs suck sap from the sprout plant and excrete a sugary substance (honeydew) onto the leaves.
  • Sooty moulds then grow on this sugary substance – and can make a real mess of the sprout buttons.
  • The warmer the weather the worse the problem is.


Click the link for more information on Cabbage whitefly which is the cause of black sooty moulds on brussel sprouts.

November 26, 2009

Sprout Supper

Filed under: brassicas — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 9:43 am

Here is a recipe using Brussels sprouts which is ideal for a winter lunch or supper.

sprouts-with-bacon

sprouts-with-bacon

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 14 cleaned Brussels sprouts
  • medium onion peeled & chopped
  • 4 rashers of bacon chopped
  • rapeseed oil for frying
  • black pepper

Method:

  • place the sprouts in boiling water & par-boil until just crunchy (about 8 minutes)
  • drain the sprouts
  • as the sprouts are cooking, fry the onion and bacon until crunchy in the rapeseed oil
  • add the partly cooked sprouts to the frying mixture, and stir in for about 3 minutes
  • grind some black pepper over the mixture
  • serve!

Time: about 15 minutes from start to finish

We used Bridget sprouts & Woburn Country Foods black back bacon as it gave it a sweet, smoky flavour.

dish-of-sprouts-with-bacon

dish-of-sprouts-with-bacon

This is another sprout recipe to add the  GreatBigVegetableChallenge list!

Served with a baked potato, it was a great Sprout Supper!


November 17, 2009

Recipes for Brussels Sprouts wanted

Filed under: brassicas — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 8:54 pm
brussels-sprouts

brussels-sprouts

The GBVC is wanting recipes using Brussels sprouts.

TopVeg loves sprouts steamed for 15 minutes – & can’t really beat that – but do let us know if you have a mouthwatering sprout recipe.

Sprouts are ready in the garden now, and should last for several months, so we could do with some variation!

Brussels-sprout-row

Brussels-sprout-row

It is all for a very good cause – Royal Navy Commanding Officer Wayne Keble OBE who is in charge of the illustrious HMS Bulwark, has dared to suggest that sprouts should be banned from the captain’s table – he actually called them the ‘devil’s vegetable.’

The Captain added “One of my roles as Commanding Officer is to ensure that we are fit and healthy and that we have a healthy lifestyle, moderate our alcohol intake and make sure we are not overweight.”

But, sprouts fill that role – as they are full of fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and iron- just what his  390-strong team of sailors and Royal Marines need.

The GBVC is hoping that some tempting recipes will change the Captain’s mind – & hopefully win him over to sprouts.  So recipes for Brussels sprouts are wanted for a good cause; please send them in!

October 13, 2009

Black sooty moulds on Brussel Sprouts

Filed under: pests&diseases — Tags: , , , , — TopVeg @ 7:18 pm

Black sooty moulds are appearing on Brussel Sprouts.

Brussels-sprout-row

Brussels-sprout-row

The black sooty mould can be sticky and is the result of a whitefly attack. Cabbage whitefly overwinters on brussel sprouts as adult insects. Adult whitefly and their nymphs suck sap from the sprout plant and excrete a sugary substance (honeydew) onto the leaves.

Sooty moulds then grow on this sugary substance – and can make a real mess of the sprout buttons. The warmer the weather the worse the problem is. Click the link for more information on Cabbage whitefly which is the cause of black sooty moulds on brussel sprouts.

March 27, 2009

How to Pick Brussels Sprouts

Filed under: brassicas — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 11:13 pm

 

sprout-stalk

sprout-stalk

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.

brussels-sprouts

brussels-sprouts

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.

sprbut2

sprbut2

The large, yellow leaves at the bottom of the sprout plant should be broken off and disposed of, on the compost heap.

sproutbutton

sproutbutton

 

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.

SPROUTBRIDGET

SPROUTBRIDGET

 

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.

sprout-b2

sprout-b2

The Brussels sprout plants will produce green vegetables throughout the winter, if picked with care.

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