There’s a New Kid in Town

FIRST: Please go sign the petition to save the bees.

Please sign the petition!
Please sign the petition!

“Save the Bees” may sound very silly, but they are important in pollinating crops and if they are gone, 1/3 of our food supply is gone.  We already rely too much on other nations for what we should be able to supply ourselves.  I want to see America working toward sustainable food.  I have grandchildren.  So, please consider signing {here}?

Now, the “new kid” // I have discovered a totally new, dark green veggie.

Well, OK – I didn’t actually discover it.  It had already been discovered, but I had never heard of it.  So I was surprised to hear that some one got there before me. Brussels-leaves

It’s Brussels Sprouts leaves.

No, not the leaves of the miniature-cabbage-looking, tiny, little sprouts.  Not the actual sprouts themselves – the leaves that shield the growing plant.  These are the great, big brassica leaves that suck up all the sunshine and nutrients to feed the tiny little sprouts – which {btw} should never, ever, for any reason known to mankind be boiled into mushy, gray yuckiness again.  Too many children have been harmed by lifelong nightmares over this.  Please stop the insanity and get some good Brussels Sprouts recipes for the love of Pete and your own offspring!!!

002

Anyway – back to the leaves…

I picked up a 4-pack of Brussels Sprouts seedlings at the farm store on a whim in mid-May.  I figure if a garden center is selling them in my zone at that time, they know I have time to get a harvest.  WRONG!  Even the Bonnie Plants website says this is better grown as a fall crop because they like it cold {brrrrrrr}.  I knew it in my heart, but wished otherwise.

It has just gotten too hot.  So the plant was about to bolt and have to be trashed.  I knew I needed to remove them and maybe try late-summer planting for the fall…oh, but wait, I betcha a thousand bucks none of our garden centers will have any in the fall because “fall gardening” in Colorado is mostly mums – that is all anyone offers us.  Seriously?  People, I implore you—!

Anyway, as I went to remove the big leaves, it just seemed like maybe they’d be edible.  They are like the very heavy outer leaves of their cabbage-cousins that are homegrown and you may have never even seen those if you buy only at a regular market – except on the box/logo of a Cabbage-Patch Kid doll, but it’s true.  Cabbage starts with beautiful, dark green, outer leaves – which are thrown away so we’ll buy the pale, celerey-colored version it.  TSK!  And I really mean that in a gardening-cuss-word sort of way.

004

I just decided to save all the leaves to see what I could find out.  And it turns out, they are indeed very edible, but rarely sold or seen anywhere and mostly thrown away or composted.  European Farmer’s Markets  have them piled at the back of their stands for a dollar a pound for those who’d ask.  But finding them for sale in the US is much more surprising at this time.

But I read that you can treat them like kale.  Or like collard greens (which I shamefully admit I have never tried, not once in my lifetime – but upon learning they are wonderful fried in bacon grease – I just know I shall like them).  The writers on the food sites say they are slightly tougher than collards and more pungent that kale.

I gathered the leaves and tossed them into a big bowl in the fridge while I pondered what I should do with them.  I have collected a few recipes to try.

My first experiment ~ CHIPS!

I love kale chips, they are mellow and you feel so superior eating them.  I mean – I still eat store-bought potato chips, but eating the healthier kale chips, well, it carries clout where I live.  I even made spinach chips once, from bagged baby spinach and while they were delish, they were like eating a vapor – much too lightweight to have been worth the effort.  Dave said it was like he was eating communion wafers when they dissolved on his tongue (although he is not Catholic and I don’t think he really knows) and I couldn’t put my finger on it…what were they like???  Oh, I know: that super-thin fish food you pinch out into your goldfish bowl (white, orange and green, itty bitty wafers?) – yes, that is what the baby spinach chips turned out like, tasty, but just not there.  But I figured I’d try the Brussels Sprouts leaves as chips…du-dum-dum…(queu scary music).

I washed and dried enough of the large leaves to cover and slightly over-lap on 2 baking sheets.  I cut the middle rib from each leaf with my handy-dandy grapefruit knife.  I tossed the leaves in about 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil (which was too much) and placed them on the baking sheets.  They were crowded, but it is ok – they’ll shrink as they dry out.  I sprinkled the leaves with Kosher salt and the teeniest, nearly imperceptible dusting of garlic powder.  300° oven for 10-15 minutes.

Here is my verdict: They are crispy and hold up well as chips.  Sandy-the-dog is quite taken with them (I only recently learned how much she enjoys garden vegetables) and they taste stronger than kale, for sure.  They taste like their cultivar, brassica oleracea implies: kinda brassy.  I will…eat them.  They are a lightly-salted crispy snack.  Guilt-free good.  And I will give them to Sandy as treats.

009

I made two batches and still had a bowl full of leaves left.

I found a site that deals with what is called “cast-off cooking,” in which their interest in sustainable foods has brought a series of recipes using parts of foods we usually waste.  No surprise that they had ideas for these large Brussels Sprouts leaves.

Highly nutritional, high in vitamin C and K, anti-cancerous, aids in DNA cell repair…I mean they are good to eat.  So I may try try some of their recipes, but for sure I will just find some kale-type recipes and substitute.

Here are some good kale recipes.  And honestly, if it weren’t so hot, I’d have made this Kale and Cannellini Soup with the rest of the leaves yesterday.  Only I’d change it of course.  The recipe and the title:  Brussels Leaves and Cannellini Soup.

brussels leaves collage

So for the future, I blanched the leaves and plunged them into ice-water to green them up really well, drained them and stuck them in a freezer with the note: make soup!  We’ll see.

AND, there is this…

calvin and hobbs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *