Sprouts, glorious sprouts

It’s that time of year when sprouts make an appearance on dinner tables throughout the land. It is often a maligned vegetable that I believe deserves to be given a chance to shine. I know they are a marmite food in that they are either loved or hated. They can be delicious as long as they are not over cooked. Better to be undercooked than overcooked, but then I’m one of those odd people who loves raw cabbage.

As a child I was encouraged to eat sprouts by being told they were fairy cabbages. Come on, I was an innocent child and to get a chance of being closer to the kingdom of fairies I was prepared to consume a sprout.

A few years ago I bought a copy of Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook (a fabulous cookbook by the way) and on the inside cover is an amazing photo of red sprouts, my goodness I can’t believe I’m saying this about sprouts. The type of sprouts took some sourcing but we eventually found out they are called Red Rubines.  A few years ago we had to buy them through a seed catalogue couldn’t get Red Rubines so had to settle on a similar Falstaff sprout, but now Sarah has made it easy and you can buy the Red Rubine seeds through her website .

Thanks to caterpillars we’ve been trying to grow a crop of them for 2 years, many evenings were spent ridding the plants of the eggs and caterpillars. Today, after a lot of perseverance, we harvested our first and last crop of Falstaffs. Unlike a lot of purple vegetables that loose their purple hue when cooked the colour in these vegetables intensify. They are not as bitter as the green ones, almost sweet. Maybe we’re quite sad we went to such extreme lengths to find and grow the Red Rubine or Falstaff but I’m sure that if children were served these rather than their murky green counterparts there would be less sprout haters in the world.

Go on, give sprouts a chance.

Post Author: Jules

Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

16 thoughts on “Sprouts, glorious sprouts


    (December 21, 2009 - 4:59 pm)

    What a beautiful picture. I’ve never seen purple sprouts before.


    (December 21, 2009 - 5:02 pm)

    Your sprouts are utterly gorgeous. I am extremely jealous, sprouts are some of my favorite veg.


    (December 21, 2009 - 6:27 pm)

    I love the photo! did you recently get a new camera?

    btw, there’s nothing wrong with liking raw cabagge! there’s many more like you :)))


      (December 21, 2009 - 8:43 pm)

      No new camera, I’m just getting better at taking pics and editing them.

    The Curious Cat

    (December 21, 2009 - 10:08 pm)

    You learn something new everyday – red sprouts! The shops should definitely gives these a go! I want a red sprout now!!! xxx


    (December 22, 2009 - 11:07 am)


    Love the red sprouts – I’ve never seen them anywhere before but they look fab and so festive.

    Last year we had our own romanesco on Christmas Day – they looked like mini-Christmas trees on our plates. x


      (December 22, 2009 - 9:56 pm)

      I love romaneseco they are such pretty vegetables with the pattern it makes…I’m such a geek…


    (December 22, 2009 - 11:35 am)

    Those sprouts are gorgeous and I love the story about the fairy cabbages. One to remember!

    Have a lovely Christmas and a fantastic New Year.


    (December 22, 2009 - 1:58 pm)

    Ditto…I have never seen purple sprouts… amazing sexy vegetable picture…


    (December 23, 2009 - 1:48 pm)

    Fab pic Jules, and well done on the purple sprouts.


    (December 27, 2009 - 10:36 pm)

    I love sprouts.
    I had a sprout starter at a dinner party a few weeks ago, it was sprouts, deep fried in batter, with black pudding. It sounds really horrible I know, but it was gorgeous.


      (December 29, 2009 - 4:39 pm)

      I saw a recipe similar to that on River Cottage Christmas. They looked surprisinly good!


    (January 16, 2010 - 5:21 pm)

    Oooohh, I’m jealous. I too saw Sarah’s beautiful rubine sprouts and ordered some seeds. Sadly because this (well last year) was my first year of growing veg I had no idea when to plant ’em, hence I’ve just got one, three inch high tiny plant. I think it will just be green sprouts for us this year.

    Very impressed!

    The Garden – 2010 « Butcher, Baker

    (April 8, 2010 - 7:57 pm)

    […] In our tiny garden everything is grown in pots, hanging baskets or in the two small raised beds down the edge. As space is limited there are a few rules as to what  we plant 1) it has to be edible or useful 2) colourful  fruit/veg or flowers. Hubs very much concentrates on the fruit & veg and I do the herbs. First I must point out that Hubs & I are not exactly experienced with gardening. We’re the kind of chuck-it-in-and-see-what-happens type of gardeners. Every year we learn lessons and try not to make the same mistakes the following year. If your interested here are the links to The Garden – 2008 , The Garden – 2009 and the much toiled over Falstaff Sprouts. […]

    Seed Feeder

    (July 5, 2011 - 4:30 pm)

    Where the hell did the purple sprouts come from :O

    Brussel Sprout Wreath « Butcher, Baker

    (November 26, 2011 - 10:36 am)

    […] a paper one I’d seen on NOTHS. Here we love our sprouts from the common green sprouts to the beautiful purple Falstaff sprouts we lovingly grew and protected from caterpillars to have the generous harvest of a handful of […]

Say hello!