Tops of Sprouts

So what exactly are these sprout tops in the standard box this week? It’s what grow at the top of a brussels sprouts plant (reminds us that Christmas is just around the corner).

Here’s an unbeatable quote waxing lyrical about sprout tops from this delightful Guardian article on why sprout tops are good for you:

“Even to the most hardened brussels sprouts dodgers, sprout tops – the clusters of leaves that grow at the crown of the sprouts’ stalk – may come as something of a revelation. These elegant, curved, purple-green leaves look beautiful – like a still life painted by a Dutch old master. In taste terms, they unite the sweet, cabbage-like freshness of young spring greens with a delicate memory of brussels sprouts, but without any of the latter’s sometimes testing sulphurous undertones. They cook almost instantly to a submissive silkiness.”

And as for why they are good for you:
“Sprout tops offer all the nutritional virtues of brussels sprouts. Along with broccoli, they have the highest levels of glucosinolate compounds (which are believed to protect against cancer) of the (glucosinolate-rich) brassica family. These compounds also seem to help the body detoxify – particularly useful in the festive season. [They] are vitamin-dense, and have exceptionally rich stores of two vitamins in particular: anti-inflammatory vitamin K, which like calcium, helps build bone density; and vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system – a winner in winter.”

The article also has the perfect recipe for wet and dreary days: sprout top, potato and chorizo soup.

The tops are incredibly versatile and can be cooked so many ways:

  • Try them with browned butter and hazelnutsbacon and onion, or chestnuts and bacon (ahh, now we’re thinking about Christmas again).
  • They are delicious shredded, lightly sautéed and combined with leftover mash and roast meats in a patty, for a sprout top squeaker. Try topping it with a poached egg, too.
  • How about frying with garlic and mushrooms and spooning over toast?
  • Or a stir-fry with garlic, ginger and a splash of rice wine?
  • Otherwise, keep it simple – steam until just wilted and top with a knob of butter and a sprinkling of sea salt, perhaps even smoked sea salt, and maybe a squeeze of lemon.
  • Or for a fancy night in, why not try pan-fried halibut with sprout tops and a cockle, mussel and clam sauce (or any white fish woul do).
Gotta check out that “submissive silkiness” now!

For more ideas on how to eat the vegetables in this week’s box, try searching on our webpage for past blogs!

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box

* Linda Potatoes, Perry Court

* Carrots, Lancs
Onions, Norfolk
Cauliflower, Kent
Chestnut Mushrooms, Suffolk

Spinach, Perry Court Farm
Brussels Sprout Tops, Lancs
Parsnips, Perry Court Farm

No-Potato Substitute
Red Kale, Perry Court

Small Box
Items marked with (*) above
+ January King Cabbage, Kent
+ Beetroot, Perry Court

+ Leeks, Kent

Fruit Supplement
Pears – Conference, Kent (standard only)
Apples, Kent


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