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.