Breathe easier with this Brussels Sprouts cooking tip.
My experience with Brussels sprouts when I was younger was a smelly one. The little green balls would soak in a boiled water bath, stinking up the entire house. And people wonder why Brussels sprouts have such a bad rep.
What makes Brussels sprouts stink? Great question! And I have the answer.
What Makes Brussels Sprouts Stinky?
Like broccoli and cabbage, Brussels sprouts are rich in hydrogen sulfide gas. When heat is added, the gases escape, and out comes the stink.
There are ways to combat the smelliness of the sprout. According to Shirley Corriher, author of CookWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, “The secret to cooking [Brussels sprouts] is to cook them less than five minutes.” Which means high-fast heat like a sauté or a quick broil in the oven.
Recipes For Smell-free Sprouts:
Brussels Sprouts with Peaches and Bacon: The Brussels sprouts are sautéed for a short time in bacon fat before being tossed with chopped peaches and maple syrup. Only sweet smells going on here!
Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Pesto and Pecorino: The Brussels sprouts are added to the simmering pasta for the last 5 minutes of the pasta’s cooking time. It’s just quick enough to make the sprouts tender without overcooking them.
Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Citrus and Pecans: You can definitely eat Brussels sprouts raw and then they don’t smell at all. They have a delicate flavor and scent, actually. You just need to shave them or slice them very thinly. Here they have a light lemon and orange vinaigrette and they’re tossed with pieces of orange and pecans for a wintry take on coleslaw.
This post originally appeared in November 2015 and was revised and republished in October 2022.
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