Monthly Archives: October 2012

What are Brussels Sprouts and What Do I Do With Them? Try them and you may like them.

Have you walked through a farmers market and caught sight of these cute little cabbage-like miniatures and shied away from purchasing them because you didn’t know what they were? People often think they are cabbage but in fact are the Brussels Sprout. Maybe you have never tasted a Brussels Sprout before and don’t know how to cook them? If so, you are not alone. Like a lot of fellow shoppers, you may be afraid to try something you are unfamiliar with.

Some farmers bring Brussels Sprout vegetables to the market on a large stalk, while others may trim them and have on display in quart baskets. Purchasing the stalk just means a little extra preparation on the part of the shopper to cut them off.

Unfortunately, the Brussels Sprout tops a lot of lists as the most hated vegetable. Learning some quick and easy preparation methods may make you a lover of this vegetable. Eating vegetables can help you to lose weight, eat healthier and when you shop at farmers markets you are supporting the local agricultural economy.

The Brussels Sprout is a great source of vitamins A, B, and C, niacin, iron and calcium. This vegetable is similar to cabbage in taste but has a milder flavor.
At the farmers market or local grocery store, purchase sprouts that are bright green and make sure they are small, firm and compact as they will be the freshest.
When you purchase Brussels Sprouts, it is a good idea to NOT wash or trim before you store them in the refrigerator and use within a week of purchase. To protect yourself and family from a foodborne illness it is important to wash the vegetables just before preparing your recipes.

This vegetable can be prepared by steaming, parboiling or over roasting with olive oil – you don’t want to overcook them as they will become stronger in flavor. Cook until they turn a brighter green and are tender but still firm.

For more information on preparing and preserving Brussels Sprout go to Michigan Fresh on the MSU Extension website. Visitors to the site have an opportunity to complete a survey that is collecting information on future uses of the information and other topics to be developed.

I have to add to this article I wrote – on a personal note we held our meeting at THE MITT Restaurant in downtown Mt. Clemens yesterday and the chef had Brussels Sprouts on the menu as an appetizer – we ordered them to share with our table and they were awesome!


Apple Crisp Recipe

Apple Crisp – How Easy is That?

When you are looking for something simple to make for a dessert, it doesn’t get any easier than Apple Crisp.  When fall gets here and the temperature begins to drop you can warm up your kitchen and make the whole house smell wonderful with an apples crisp.  It is easy and by not peeling the apples it saves you lots of time.  You can use this same recipe to make a peach or pear crisp as well.  Add a scoop of local or Michigan vanilla ice cream to dress this dessert up.

This is a family favorite at our house and I can make it up in less than an hour when we get invited over to a friend’s for dinner.

Start with 8-10 Michigan apples.  I like a tart apple like a granny smith but have used many different kinds of apples like northern spys and macintosh –  and you can even mix the varieties in this dessert too for awesome flavor.  This dessert is great if your apples are starting to turn a little soft too.

Wash 8-10 apples and dry.  Quarter the apples and cut out the core.  Slice apples into thin slices.  Toss with 2 tablespoons flour and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.  Pour into an 8X8 baking dish that has been sprayed or oiled.

For the Crumb topping:  Mix ¾ cup of oatmeal, ¼ cup of flour, ½ cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ tsp salt and cut in with a pastry blender or fork – 4 tablespoons butter and mix until it looks like coarse crumbs.  I like to add walnuts or pecans.  I added pecans after I had worked in the butter.

Pour on top of apples and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!


Baked Apple Crisp

Fall is Apple Picking Season

In Michigan, many apple growers lost their crop last spring when  early spring warm weather had trees blossoming too early.  A hard frost followed and killed many of those apple blossoms, hence, no fruit.  Some growers lost more than half their crop while others lost all of it.  Some farmers were able to plant other crops to try to make up for some of their lost income.  WE have many orchards that are involved with Agri-Tourism where they offer the traditional apple picking followed by cider and doughnut treats.  All of these events and activities will be affected by the huge losses of this apple crop.

With all that said, there are some apples.  So, make sure you purchase them now  from farmers markets and orchards and enjoy those crisp, juicy tastes of our fall apples and savor the flavor.  They may not be here long.   There have been news articles and stories everywhere reporting on the monetary value of these losses, the jobs and income lost, but several farmers are insisting they will have apples and apple cider.  What we will see is farmers purchasing apples from New York and Washington and other apple producing states to make cider  or they may be purchasing cider to make sure we all have the full experience at the cider mills and orchards.   You may find some sticker shock on bags and baskets of apples since the supply is low.  The prices of cider are also higher.  WE can  still support our local apple growers by purchasing the apples and cider they do have and enjoy this fall experience.  Because what is fall without them?

Check Michigan Farmers Market Association for an apple orchard near you!