While the answer to the question “Where do Brussels sprouts come from?” may seem obvious, the full origin story of this vegetable is worth telling. Keep reading to learn more!
Where Do Brussels Sprouts Come From?
Sometimes the names of foods can be misleading. But in some cases they tell the truth, as with Brussels sprouts, which actually come from the capital of Belgium.
To be precise, this type of cabbage comes from Saint-Gilles, a Brussels neighborhood known today as a “village within the city.”
While some believe that Brussels sprouts were being cultivated in Belgium as early as 1200, the first recorded version of these cruciferous vegetables dates to 1587.
The creation of Brussels sprouts is a good illustration of the old saying “necessity is the mother of invention.”
Since agricultural land was becoming scarce in Saint-Gilles, farmers had to create a variety of cabbage that grows vertically. That’s how Brussels sprouts were born.
The French called the new vegetable chou de Bruxelles, or Bruxelles cabbage, and the name was adopted with minor variations in other languages: Brussels sprouts in English, cavoletti di Bruxelles in Italian, coles de Bruselas in Spanish, and couves de Bruxelas in Portuguese.
They’re Good for You!
It’s true: a distaste for their pungent flavor is an underlying theme throughout the history of Brussels sprouts. However, there are many reasons to love them.
- They’re not as bitter as they used to be. The supposedly bitter taste of Brussels sprouts is the stuff of legend, but don’t let it discourage you: producers have created new varieties of Brussels sprouts whose flavor is milder than the original.
- Rich in antioxidants. Brussels sprouts contain generous amounts of nutrients, especially antioxidants, compounds that combat the effect of free radicals.
- They support heart and gut health. These vegetables contain kaempferol, which has been linked to improved heart health, and sulfur, a mineral that promotes gut health.
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