Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera) are called ‘sprouting cabbages’ in Austria and are amongst the youngest varieties that emerged in the cabbage plant family. Around 1785 was the first time that Brussels sprouts were brought to market in Brussels. Being a healthy source of protein, ranking high amongst vegetables rich in vitamin c and magnesium, these true winter vegetables quickly became established at markets across Europe.
Brussels sprouts whose appearance is a little bit like mini-cabbage buds acquire a particularly delicious taste after they have been exposed to the first frosts in winter. The older and open-pollinated seed varieties are often very robust and frost hardy plants and therefore lend themselves well for harvests until late in the winter period. Interestingly the sprouts mature from the bottom of the plant upwards, why the first crops are picked from the ground level first in late autumn.
Most Brussels sprouts varieties are of the typical light to middle green colouring but every now and then one might come a across one of the rarer beautiful purple varieties.
Similar to all other cabbage species Brussels sprouts are plants with a high demand for nutrients. Therefore they thrive in sunny locations, in nutrient-rich, sandy-, loamy ground and like to remain well-watered.