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Wild populations of var. oleracea are known only from the coastal cliffs of W Europe. Of the 15 varieties and 16 forms recognized by Helm (Kulturpflanze 11: 92-210. 1963), seven varieties are cultivated in China, the most commonly grown of which are vars. botrytis, capitata, gongylodes, and italica. The other varieties are less commonly grown.
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Flora of China Vol. 8: 17 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Description

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Herbs biennial or perennial, rarely annual, (0.3-)0.6-1.5(-3) m tall, glabrous, glaucous. Stems erect or decumbent, branched at or above middle, sometimes fleshy at base. Basal and lowermost cauline leaves long petiolate, sometimes strongly overlapping and forming a head; petiole to 30 cm; leaf blade ovate, oblong, or lanceolate in outline, to 40 × 15 cm, margin entire, repand, or dentate, sometimes pinnatifid or pinnatisect and with a large terminal lobe and smaller, 1-13, oblong or ovate lateral lobes on each side of midvein. Upper cauline leaves sessile or subsessile in some cultivated forms, oblanceolate, ovate, or oblong, to 10 × 4 cm, base amplexicaul, auriculate, or rarely cuneate, margin entire, repand, or rarely dentate. Racemes sometimes fleshy and condensed into a head. Fruiting pedicels usually straight, ascending or divaricate, (0.8-)1.4-2.5(-4) cm. Sepals oblong, 0.8-1.5 cm × 1.5-2.7 mm, erect. Petals creamy yellow or rarely white, (1.5-)1.8-2.5(-3) × (0.6-)0.8-1.2 cm, ovate or elliptic, apex rounded; claw 0.7-1.5 cm. Filaments 0.8-1.2 cm; anthers oblong, 2.5-4 mm. Fruit linear, (2.5-)4-8(-10) cm × (2.5-)3-4(-5) mm, terete, sessile or on a gynophore to 3 mm, divaricate or ascending; valvular segment (2-)3-7.5(-9) cm, 10-20-seeded per locule, valves with a prominent midvein; terminal segment conical, (3-)4-10 mm, seedless or 1(or 2)-seeded; style obsolete. Seeds dark brown or blackish, globose, 1.5-2.5 mm in diam., minutely reticulate. Fl. Mar-Jun, fr. Apr-Jul. 2n = 18*.
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Flora of China Vol. 8: 17 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Distribution

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This species (including var. capitata L., var. botrys L. and others) is widely cultivated in Nepal as a vegetable.
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Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal Vol. 0 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Habitat & Distribution

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Cultivated. Throughout China [native to W Europe; cultivated worldwide].
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Flora of China Vol. 8: 17 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Brief Summary

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Brassica oleracea, wild cabbage, is a species in the Brassicaceae (the cabbage or mustard family) from which numerous vegetable crops have been derived, including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, Chinese broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, curly kale, and kohlrabi, among others. Although the varieties are so numerous as to complicate a general description, the plant is generally stout herbaceous annual, biennial, or occasionally perennial with smooth, glaucous (waxy), rounded lower leaves, which originated in Europe and has been cultivated since Roman times or before. It is most commonly grown in north temperate regions, as it requires a cool growing season and abundant moisture, and its numerous varieties are popular in home gardens. B. olearacea, along with the cultivars of B. juncea and B. rapa, have such a long history of cultivation and diversification that it can be difficult to ascertain and classify the relationships among species and varieties (or subspecies). Varieties of B. olearacea are generally placed into the following eight groups: 1) var. acephala, which includes some types of kale, collards, palm cabbage, and Portuguese cabbage, all used for their leaves, which are generally used as a cooked vegetable or in soups, but are sometimes marinated in dressing and used as a salad. 2) var. alboglabra, Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale, which produces fleshy stems and crowded flower buds; the stems, flower buds, and young leaves are generally used as a cooked vegetable and are typical in Asian stir fries, soups, and noodle dishes. 3) var. botrytris, cauliflower, including purple cultivars (Cape broccoli), as well as the pyramid-shaped Italian cultivars (Romanesco), which have large fleshy stems and flower buds that do not open; the stems and buds, which form heads, are served raw in salads or used as a cooked vegetable. 4) var. capitata, which includes cabbage (sometimes referred to as white cabbage), red cabbage, and Savoy cabbage, in which the large, rounded leaves grow together densely together with a fleshy stem to form a “head,” which is used raw in salads, pickled or fermented (in the German sauerkraut as well as in numerous other regional dishes), or cooked as a vegetable in many northern European cuisines. 5) var. gemmifera, Brussels sprouts, which forms numerous large axillary buds (where leaf joins stem), with leaves so densely packed as to form small heads, and numerous of these buds ascending a central stalk that can grow to 1 m (3 ft) tall; the buds are used as a cooked vegetable, featured in various typical French dishes. The large stem leaves may also be used as a cooked green. 6) var. gongylodes, kohlrabi, which has a greatly enlarged, bulbous, above-ground stem, with the leaves often growing in a crown around the outer edge; the stem may be used raw in salads but is more typically cooked and prepared similarly to turnips or used in soups. The leaves may also be used as a cooked green. 7) var. italica, broccoli, which has thick fleshy stalks and a large head of densely packed flowerbuds; the stems are harvested while flower buds are still immature and tightly closed, and used raw or as a cooked vegetable. Broccoli is a highly nutritious vegetable, with a high vitamin C content and numerous other vitamins and minerals, while low in calories. 8) var. sabellica, curly and Portuguese kales, which are short-lived perennials from which the leaves can be harvested for several years; the leaves are generally used as a cooked green, notably in Portuguese dishes including the traditional kale soup known as “caldo verde,” but may also be marinated in dressing and used raw in salads. Statistics on the production of this diverse group of vegetables are difficult to aggregate. The FAO tracks a category called “cabbages and other Brassica species,” which covers all the varieties of B. olearacea but includes related species as well. However, this category suggests at least the general level of commercial production of these vegetables, which the FAO estimated was 60 million metric tons worldwide in 2010, harvested from 2.1 million hectares. Leading producers were China, India, the Russian Federation, Japan and Korea; the U.S. ranked 9th in total production. (Bailey et al. 1976, FAOSTAT 2012, Hedrick 1919, van Wyk 2005.)
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Economic Significance

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Brassica oleracea has many edible varieties including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, Brussel sprouts, kale, and kohlrabi.

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Brassica oleracea

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Brassica oleracea is a plant species that includes many common foods as cultivars, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, Savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, and gai lan.

In its uncultivated form, it is called wild cabbage, and is native to coastal southern and western Europe. A hardy plant in its uncultivated form, its high tolerance for salt and lime, and its intolerance of competition from other plants, typically restrict its natural occurrence to limestone sea cliffs, like the chalk cliffs on both sides of the English Channel,[3] and the windswept coast on the western side of the Isle of Wight. Genetic analysis of nine wild populations on the French Atlantic coast indicated their common feral origin, deriving from domesticated plants escaped from fields and gardens.[4]

Wild B. oleracea is a tall biennial plant that forms a stout rosette of large leaves in the first year. The leaves are fleshier and thicker than other Brassica species—an adaptation that helps it store water and nutrients in its difficult growing environment. In its second year, it uses the stored nutrients to produce a flower spike 1 to 2 metres (3–7 ft) tall with numerous yellow flowers.

Its specific epithet oleracea means "vegetable/herbal" in Latin and is a form of holeraceus (oleraceus).[5][6]

Cultivation and uses

 src=
Head of B. oleracea Botrytis Group (cauliflower) growing at Hooghly near Bandel in West Bengal, India

B. oleracea has become established as an important human food crop plant, used because of its large food reserves, which are stored over the winter in its leaves. It is rich in essential nutrients including vitamin C. It has been bred into a wide range of cultivars, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collards, and kale, some of which are hardly recognizable as being members of the same genus, let alone species.[7] The historical genus of Crucifera, meaning "cross-bearing" in reference to the four-petaled flowers, may be the only unifying feature beyond taste.

Researchers believe it has been cultivated for several thousand years, but its history as a domesticated plant is not clear before Greek and Roman times, when it was a well-established garden vegetable. Theophrastus mentions three kinds of rhaphanos (ῤάφανος):[8] a curly-leaved, a smooth-leaved, and a wild-type.[9] He reports the antipathy of the cabbage and the grape vine, for the ancients believed cabbages grown near grapes would impart their flavour to the wine.[10]

A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables (e.g., cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) is linked to a reduced risk of several human cancers.[11][12]

A small tree with large leaves
Jersey cabbage can be cultivated to grow quite large, especially in frost-free climates.

Origins

According to the Triangle of U theory, B. oleracea is very closely related to five other species of the genus Brassica.[13]

 src=
Jersey walking sticks

The cultivars of B. oleracea are grouped by developmental form into seven major cultivar groups, of which the Acephala ("non-heading") group remains most like the natural wild cabbage in appearance:

In places such as the Channel Islands and Canary Islands, where the frost is minimal and plants are thus freed from seasonality, some cultivars, known as Jersey cabbages, can grow up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall.[14] These "tree cabbages" yield fresh leaves throughout the year, are perennial, and do not need to be destroyed at harvest as with a normal cabbage. Their woody stalks are sometimes dried and made into walking sticks.[15][16]

History

 src=
Market Scene, painting by Pieter Aertsen (1569)

With the advent of agriculture and the domestication of wild crop plants, the people of the northern Mediterranean began cultivating wild cabbage. Through artificial selection for various phenotype traits, the emergence of variations of the plant with drastic differences in looks took only a few thousand years. Preference for leaves, terminal bud, lateral bud, stem, and inflorescence resulted in selection of varieties of wild cabbage into the many forms known today.[17]

Impact of preference

  • The preference for the eating of the leaves led to the selection of plants with larger leaves being harvested and their seeds planted for the next growth. Around the fifth century BC, the formation of what is now known as kale had developed.[18]
  • Preference led to further artificial selection of kale plants with more tightly bunched leaves, or terminal bud. Somewhere around the first century AD emerged the phenotype variation of B. oleracea known as cabbage.
  • Phenotype selection preferences in Germany resulted in a new variation from the kale cultivar. By selecting for fatter stems, the variant plant known as kohlrabi emerged around the first century AD.
  • European preference emerged for eating immature buds, selection for inflorescence. Early records in 15th century AD, indicate that early cauliflower and broccoli heading types were found throughout southern Italy and Sicily, although these types may not have been resolved into distinct cultivars until about 100 years later.[19][7][20][21]
  • Further selection in Belgium in lateral bud led to Brussels sprouts in the 18th century.

Medicinal use

The Lumbee tribe of North Carolina has traditionally used the leaves of B. oleracea in medicine that they believed to have cleansing qualities, as well as a mild laxative, an anti-inflammatory, and treatment for glaucoma and pneumonia.[22]

 src=
Several cultivars of B. oleracea, including kale, Brussels sprouts, savoy, and Chinese kale

Genetics in relation to taste

The TAS2R38 gene encodes a G protein-coupled receptor that functions as a taste receptor, mediated by ligands such as PROP and phenylthiocarbamide that bind to the receptor and initiate signaling that confers various degrees of taste perception. Vegetables in the brassica family, such as collard greens, kale, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, contain glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which resemble PROP, and therefore much of the perceived "bitterness" of these vegetables is mediated through TAS2R38. Bitter taste receptors in the TS2R family are also found in gut mucosal and pancreatic cells in humans and rodents. These receptors influence release of hormones involved in appetite regulation, such as peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1, and therefore may influence caloric intake and the development of obesity. Thus, bitter taste perception may affect dietary behaviors by influencing both taste preferences and metabolic hormonal regulation.[23]

Three variants in the TAS2R38 gene – rs713598, rs1726866, and rs10246939 – are in high linkage disequilibrium in most populations and result in amino acid coding changes that lead to a range of bitter taste perception phenotypes. The PAV haplotype is dominant; therefore, individuals with at least one copy of the PAV allele perceive molecules in vegetables that resemble PROP as tasting bitter, and consequently may develop an aversion to bitter vegetables. In contrast, individuals with two AVI haplotypes are bitter non-tasters. PAV and AVI haplotypes are the most common, though other haplotypes exist that confer intermediate bitter taste sensitivity (AAI, AAV, AVV, and PVI). This taste aversion may apply to vegetables in general.[23][24]

Cultivars

References

  1. ^ Holubec, V., Uzundzhalieva, K., Vörösváry, G., Donnini, D., Bulińska, Z. & Strajeru, S. 2011. Brassica oleracea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T170110A6717557. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T170110A6717557.en. Downloaded on 02 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Brassica oleracea L." Plants of the World Online. Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  3. ^ Snogerup, Sven; Gustafsson, Mats; Bothmer, Roland Von (1990-01-01). "Brassica sect. Brassica (Brassicaceae) I. Taxonomy and Variation". Willdenowia. 19 (2): 271–365. JSTOR 3996645.
  4. ^ Maggioni, Lorenzo; von Bothmer, Roland; Poulsen, Gert; Härnström Aloisi, Karolina (2020). "Survey and genetic diversity of wild Brassica oleracea L. Germplasm on the Atlantic coast of France". Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. 67 (7): 1853–1866. doi:10.1007/s10722-020-00945-0. S2CID 218772995.
  5. ^ Parker, Peter (2018). A Little Book of Latin for Gardeners. Little Brown Book Group. p. 328. ISBN 978-1-4087-0615-2. oleraceus, holeraceus = relating to vegetables or kitchen garden
  6. ^ Whitney, William Dwight (1899). The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia. Century Co. p. 2856. L. holeraceus, prop. oleraceus, herb-like, holus, prop. olus (oler-), herbs, vegetables
  7. ^ a b Stansell, Zachary; Hyma, Katie; Fresnedo-Ramírez, Jonathan; Sun, Qi; Mitchell, Sharon; Björkman, Thomas; Hua, Jian (2018-07-01). "Genotyping-by-sequencing of Brassica oleracea vegetables reveals unique phylogenetic patterns, population structure and domestication footprints". Horticulture Research. 5 (1): 38. doi:10.1038/s41438-018-0040-3. ISSN 2052-7276. PMC 6026498. PMID 29977574. S2CID 49552482.
  8. ^ Compare Theophrastus; raphanis (ραφανίς), "radish", also a Brassica.
  9. ^ Zohary, Daniel; Hopf, Maria; Weiss, Ehud (2012). Domestication of Plants in the Old World: The Origin and Spread of Domesticated Plants in Southwest Asia, Europe, and the Mediterranean Basin. OUP Oxford. p. 199. ISBN 978-0199549061.
  10. ^ Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants, IV.6.16; Deipnosophistae, I, noting the effects of cabbages on wine and wine-drinkers, also quotes Apollodorus of Carystus: "If they think that our calling it a rhaphanos, while you foreigners call it a krambê, makes any difference to us women!" (on-line English text).
  11. ^ Verhoeven, D. T.; Goldbohm, R. A.; van Poppel, G.; Verhagen, H.; van den Brandt, P. A. (1996-09-01). "Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk". Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 5 (9): 733–748. ISSN 1055-9965. PMID 8877066.
  12. ^ Higdon, Jane V.; Delage, Barbara; Williams, David E.; Dashwood, Roderick H. (2007-03-01). "Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis". Pharmacological Research. 55 (3): 224–236. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2007.01.009. ISSN 1043-6618. PMC 2737735. PMID 17317210.
  13. ^ Dixon, G.R. (2007). Vegetable brassicas and related crucifers. Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 978-0-85199-395-9.
  14. ^ Miller, Philip (1835). The Gardeners Dictionary. Volume 1 (9th ed.). p. 208. |volume= has extra text (help)
  15. ^ Ayto, John (2012). The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink. Oxford University Press. p. 187. ISBN 9780199640249.
  16. ^ Williams, Paul H.; Hill, Curtis B. (June 13, 1986). "Rapid-Cycling Populations of Brassica" (PDF). Science. New Series. 232 (4756): 1385–1389. Bibcode:1986Sci...232.1385W. doi:10.1126/science.232.4756.1385. PMID 17828914. S2CID 25779465.
  17. ^ Osnas, Jeanne L. D. (2012-11-05). "The extraordinary diversity of Brassica oleracea". The Botanist in the Kitchen. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  18. ^ "Vegetables - University of Saskatchewan". agbio.usask.ca. Archived from the original on 2016-03-29. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  19. ^ Maggioni, Lorenzo; von Bothmer, Roland; Poulsen, Gert; Branca, Ferdinando (2010-06-01). "Origin and Domestication of Cole Crops (Brassica oleracea L.): Linguistic and Literary Considerations1". Economic Botany. 64 (2): 109–123. doi:10.1007/s12231-010-9115-2. ISSN 1874-9364. S2CID 2771884.
  20. ^ Maggioni, Lorenzo (June 2015). "Domestication of Brassica oleracea L." pub.epsilon.slu.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  21. ^ Stansell, Zachary; Björkman, Thomas (2020-10-01). "From landrace to modern hybrid broccoli: the genomic and morphological domestication syndrome within a diverse B. oleracea collection". Horticulture Research. 7 (1): 159. doi:10.1038/s41438-020-00375-0. ISSN 2052-7276. PMC 7528014. PMID 33082966.
  22. ^ de Rus Jacquet, Aurélie; Timmers, Michael; Ma, Sin Ying; Thieme, Andrew; McCabe, George P.; Vest, Jay Hansford C.; Lila, Mary Ann; Rochet, Jean-Christophe (2017-07-12). "Lumbee traditional medicine: Neuroprotective activities of medicinal plants used to treat Parkinson's disease-related symptoms". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 206: 408–425. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2017.02.021. PMC 6149226. PMID 28214539.
  23. ^ a b Calancie, Larissa; Keyserling, Thomas C.; Smith-Taillie, Lindsey; Robasky, Kimberly; Patterson, Cam; Ammerman, Alice S.; Schisler, Jonathan C. (2018). "TAS2R38 predisposition to bitter taste associated with differential changes in vegetable intake in response to a community-based dietary intervention". G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics. 8 (6): 2107–2119. doi:10.1534/g3.118.300547. PMC 5982837. PMID 29686110. CC-BY icon.svg Text was copied from the preprint version, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
  24. ^ Behrens, Maik; Gunn, Howard; Ramos, Purita (2013). "Genetic, Functional, and Phenotypic Diversity in TAS2R38-Mediated Bitter Taste Perception". Chemical Senses. 38 (6): 475–84. doi:10.1093/chemse/bjt016. PMID 23632915.

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Brassica oleracea: Brief Summary

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Brassica oleracea is a plant species that includes many common foods as cultivars, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, Savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, and gai lan.

In its uncultivated form, it is called wild cabbage, and is native to coastal southern and western Europe. A hardy plant in its uncultivated form, its high tolerance for salt and lime, and its intolerance of competition from other plants, typically restrict its natural occurrence to limestone sea cliffs, like the chalk cliffs on both sides of the English Channel, and the windswept coast on the western side of the Isle of Wight. Genetic analysis of nine wild populations on the French Atlantic coast indicated their common feral origin, deriving from domesticated plants escaped from fields and gardens.

Wild B. oleracea is a tall biennial plant that forms a stout rosette of large leaves in the first year. The leaves are fleshier and thicker than other Brassica species—an adaptation that helps it store water and nutrients in its difficult growing environment. In its second year, it uses the stored nutrients to produce a flower spike 1 to 2 metres (3–7 ft) tall with numerous yellow flowers.

Its specific epithet oleracea means "vegetable/herbal" in Latin and is a form of holeraceus (oleraceus).

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Brussels sprout

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The Brussels sprout is a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages (Brassica oleracea), grown for its edible buds. The leaf vegetables are typically 1.5–4.0 cm (0.6–1.6 in) in diameter and resemble miniature cabbages. The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium, from which it gained its name.[1]

Etymology

Although native to the Mediterranean region with other cabbage species, Brussels sprouts first appeared in northern Europe during the 5th century, later being cultivated in the 13th century near Brussels, Belgium, from which they derived their name.[1][2] Its group name Gemmifera (or lowercase and italicized gemmifera as a variety name) means gemmiferous (bud-producing).

Cultivation

Forerunners to modern Brussels sprouts were probably cultivated in Ancient Rome. Brussels sprouts as they are now known were grown possibly as early as the 13th century in what is now Belgium. The first written reference dates to 1587. During the 16th century, they enjoyed a popularity in the southern Netherlands that eventually spread throughout the cooler parts of Northern Europe.

Brussels sprouts grow in temperature ranges of 7–24 °C (45–75 °F), with highest yields at 15–18 °C (59–64 °F).[2] Fields are ready for harvest 90 to 180 days after planting. The edible sprouts grow like buds in helical patterns along the side of long, thick stalks of about 60 to 120 cm (24 to 47 in) in height, maturing over several weeks from the lower to the upper part of the stalk. Sprouts may be picked by hand into baskets, in which case several harvests are made of five to 15 sprouts at a time, or by cutting the entire stalk at once for processing, or by mechanical harvester, depending on variety. Each stalk can produce 1.1 to 1.4 kg (2.4 to 3.1 lb), although the commercial yield is about 900 g (2 lb) per stalk.[2] Harvest season in temperate zones of the northern latitudes is September to March, making Brussels sprouts a traditional winter-stock vegetable. In the home garden, harvest can be delayed as quality does not suffer from freezing. Sprouts are considered to be sweetest after a frost.[3]

Brussels sprouts are a cultivar group of the same species as broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale, and kohlrabi; they are cruciferous (they belong to the family Brassicaceae; old name Cruciferae). Many cultivars are available; some are purple in color, such as 'Ruby Crunch' or 'Red Bull'.[4] The purple varieties are hybrids between purple cabbage and regular green Brussels sprouts developed by a Dutch botanist in the 1940s, yielding a variety with some of the red cabbage's purple colors and greater sweetness.[5] In the 1990s, Dutch scientist Hans van Doorn identified the chemicals that make Brussels sprouts bitter. This enabled Dutch seed companies to cross-breed archived low-bitterness varieties with modern high-yield varieties, over time producing a significant increase in the popularity of the vegetable.[6]

Europe

In Continental Europe, the largest producers are the Netherlands, at 82,000 metric tons, and Germany, at 10,000 tons. The United Kingdom has production comparable to that of the Netherlands, but its crop is generally not exported.[7]

North America

Production of Brussels sprouts in the United States began in the 18th century, when French settlers brought them to Louisiana.[2] The first plantings in California's Central Coast began in the 1920s, with significant production beginning in the 1940s. Currently, several thousand acres are planted in coastal areas of San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties of California, which offer an ideal combination of coastal fog and cool temperatures year-round. The harvest season lasts from June through January.

Most US production is in California,[8] with a smaller percentage of the crop grown in Skagit Valley, Washington, where cool springs, mild summers, and rich soil abounds, and to a lesser degree on Long Island, New York.[9] Total US production is around 32,000 tons, with a value of $27 million.[2]

About 80 to 85% of US production is for the frozen food market, with the remainder for fresh consumption.[9] Once harvested, sprouts last 3–5 weeks under ideal near-freezing conditions before wilting and discoloring, and about half as long at refrigerator temperature.[2] US varieties are generally 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in) in diameter.[2]

Nutrients, phytochemicals and research

Raw Brussels sprouts are 86% water, 9% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and negligible fat. In a 100 gram reference amount, they supply high levels (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin C (102% DV) and vitamin K (169% DV), with more moderate amounts of B vitamins, such as folate and vitamin B6 (USDA nutrient table, above right); essential minerals and dietary fiber exist in moderate to low amounts (table).

Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contain sulforaphane, a phytochemical under basic research for its potential biological properties. Although boiling reduces the level of sulforaphane, steaming, microwave cooking, and stir frying do not cause a significant loss.[10]

Consuming Brussels sprouts in excess may not be suitable for people taking anticoagulants, such as warfarin, since they contain vitamin K, a blood-clotting factor. In one incident, eating too many Brussels sprouts led to hospitalization for an individual on blood-thinning therapy.[11]

Cooking and preparation

Brussels sprouts made by Baronessa Italian Restaurant
Brussels sprouts prepared for cooking in a wood-fired pizza oven

The most common method of preparing Brussels sprouts for cooking begins with cutting the buds off the stalk. Any surplus stem is cut away, and any loose surface leaves are peeled and discarded. Once cut and cleaned, the buds are typically cooked by boiling, steaming, stir frying, grilling, slow cooking, or roasting. To ensure even cooking throughout, buds of a similar size are usually chosen. Some cooks make a single cut or a cross in the center of the stem to aid the penetration of heat. The cross cut may, however, be ineffective, with it being commonly believed to cause the sprouts to be waterlogged.[12]

Overcooking renders the buds gray and soft, and they then develop a strong flavor and odor that some dislike for its garlic- or onion-odor properties.[8][13] The odor is associated with the glucosinolate sinigrin, a sulfur compound having characteristic pungency.[13] For taste, roasting Brussels sprouts is a common way to cook them to enhance flavor.[13][14] Common toppings or additions include Parmesan cheese and butter, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, chestnuts, or pepper.

Gallery

Brussels sprouts

References

  1. ^ a b Olver, Lynne (11 April 2011). "Food Timeline: Brussels sprouts". The Food Timeline. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Brussel Sprouts". UGA.edu. College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia. Archived from the original on 13 September 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
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Brussels sprout: Brief Summary

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The Brussels sprout is a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages (Brassica oleracea), grown for its edible buds. The leaf vegetables are typically 1.5–4.0 cm (0.6–1.6 in) in diameter and resemble miniature cabbages. The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium, from which it gained its name.

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