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The humble sprout

Love them or hate them, Brussels sprouts are good for you

Please forgive me as I start with a proud mom moment this week.

Chloe has been working like mad on her crystal candle and jewellery business with her friend Maggie. It’s been in the pipeline for ever but with a little help from Chloe’s dad, their website went live last week!

You can find them at www.crystal-wicks.com and I hope you are as impressed as me! Chloe has been making the candles and Maggie the jewellery. It’s not their first adventure into business planning. I am for ever thankful that their slime business never made it to fruition. At one stage we had a full-on slime workshop under the stairs and we had slime experiments everywhere … the car and the bedroom carpet being the worst places!

Fast-forward to the candles and the only side effect is that our house smells lovely. Chloe was recently roasting orange peel for her “protection” candle and the kitchen was incredible. If you’re the kind of person that likes to bake cookies or make coffee before guests come over (because of how great it makes your house smell) then try roasting orange peel. At this time of year, it also feels very Christmassy.

The orange peel was also good timing as I’d just been steaming some Brussels sprouts. As amazing as sprouts are, they just don’t smell great when they are cooking. Same goes for broccoli and cauliflower. Our super-healthy cruciferous friends just don’t have a good aroma (arguably, on either end ha)! They are however, too healthy to overlook.

It’s the cruciferous vegetables that have an especially high antioxidant content, particularly useful for liver support and cancer prevention. Leafy greens and radishes also count as cruciferous, but at this time of year the humble sprout gets a lot of attention.

Brussels sprouts tend to be divisive. You either love them or you hate them. I have one child who loves them and one who absolutely does not – even if I wrap them in bacon. What’s up there? Pretty much anything tastes amazing wrapped in bacon! So the recipe below might not win over a diehard sprout-hater, but for those of you who like them, give it a whirl. The chestnuts and spices make this decidedly festive. I don’t use bacon often, but I use English-cut, unsmoked bacon when I do!

To help you feel extra good about this dish, here are some fun facts for you: Brussels have a great fibre content, which is especially helpful for digestion and also for helping improve blood sugar balance. Brussels are rich in vitamin K (good for healthy clotting and bones) and vitamin C (cellular repair and immunity). They also have decent B6 (energy) and magnesium (helpful for pretty much everything)! Chestnuts are surprisingly high in antioxidants in general but have a notable dose of lutein and zeaxanthin – both amazingly protective for eye health.

The last tip before I go! Don’t overcook sprouts. Otherwise they go mushy, smell awful and lose their nutritional value. A gentle steam will do until they are al dente. Enjoy!

Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and bacon

Ingredients (serves 4):

6 cups sprouts, peeled, trimmed, halved lengthways

1/2 a small red onion, sliced very thinly

6 rashers English-cut, unsmoked bacon, chopped into small pieces

1 cup vacuum-packed chestnuts, chopped

Light olive oil

Cinnamon (dash), nutmeg (dash), salt and pepper


1. Prep your sprouts and put them on to steam. Keep an eye on them and remove them from the heat when they are al dente (approximately five minutes). Place them in a bowl of iced water to cool them down quickly (which helps retain the bright green colour). Drain well and blot dry.

2. In a large pan, gently sauté the onion and bacon in a dash of oil and the spices. Once the onion has softened and the bacon is crispy, add the chestnuts. After a few minutes, toss in the sprouts and heat them through.

3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

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Published December 09, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated December 09, 2022 at 7:46 am)

The humble sprout

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