Brussel sprouts

Can you get brussel sprouts here in brittany ,we have just moved here in august and although there are some things that we miss from scotland I can’t imagine christmas dinner without sprouts ,just wouldn’t be the same.

Well you can get them in the east and south west so I see no reason why the north should be different! Still a bit early, as first harvests only just happening so more likely to find in markets rather than shops. We had some for lunch today, roasted with hazelnuts.

Next year, just to be sure of a supply, grow your own?

I live in Brittany and sprouts have been in the supermarkets for a few weeks now so don’t worry!

Never mind the supermarket’s plastic bags of sprouts, buy them direct from producteurs in clumps on the stalk at the farm or on local markets . We’re down in the Aveyron, which is a long way south of Brittany, but a couple of kms upstream from us in the Lot Valley, they’re growing Brussels .

However, my mother always held that winter sprouts (and celery) benefited by being ‘nipped by frost’; she may well have been right, but thankfully that’s an unlikely possibility down here.

They aren’t quite in season yet, I know many people are stressed by this because it is already time to get them on for Christmas dinner but never fear they will be in the shops soon. Or you can get frozen sprouts.

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Parsnips are harder to find - though getting a bit easier every year (apparently they were generally regarded as animal feed in France in days gone by).

Lidl has had bags of lovely small sweet ones in for a few weeks now. After never seeing a parsnip in France for many years every where seems to stock them now.

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The elderly people I talk to say it is an after effect of having to eat far too many parsnips during the war…and also explain that’s why you get 4 beans and a potato in a restaurant as vegetables are what you eat at home, and when you go out you expect meat

The fact that Lidl sell them and that people buy them is a good indication that they are back “in fashion”. When I first moved to France (seems like an age now), not only couldn’t you find them anywhere in the shops, they were near impossible to buy as seeds to plant and grow.
As someone else has pointed out, the vegetables that the French had to live on during the German occupation of WWII lost favour after the economy picked up again in the 50’s - my ex-MiL always had a visceral dislike to them, and Jersualem artichokes, for the same reason.

Yes I remember that - dh was always very sad at Christmas!

Corr, I love sprouts.
Is there a better veg on the planet?

Yes I do although as a child I remember being forced to eat them strange how tastes change as you grow older now I love them

This thread is amazing, although I love them myself I have never met anyone else who does. Most of the time they are the veg most people love to hate.

Regarding parsnips, parnais, I used to buy them every week from the Sunday market here but once when on my way back from the north I stopped at a large market south of Rouen. Not only did the bloke not have any, he had no idea what the hell I was talking about, in both languages.

Drew quite a crowd though, also uncomprehending, as I tried to explain and demonstrate using a large carrot.

Regarding wartime hate of certain things, could there be a difference caused by the division of the country between occupied and ‘free’ for much of it? Round here was in Vichy, but only by 30 kms or so.

I love all those brassicas and spinach and chard etc, all vegetables really - it was amazing for me when I was a child because what was on offer was so very different on the SE coast of France and in Scotland. There wasn’t a lot of overlap.

We are crossing our fingers that we we get home some of our brussels will be ready to pick. And we have planted kalettes this year too - a cross between brussels and kale that gives you fluffy brussels spouts with hint of kale, and you can eat the leaves. Win:Win. So hope they have not suffered in our absence either.

They sound cool - pic please if they are OK when you get home!

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It’s my impression that the outer leaves of sprouts have a marked sulphurous taste and odour when cooking, the inner leaves are markedly sweet.

As we age our olfactory bulbs (organs of smell) lose sensitivity but our taste buds remain able to detect sweetness, and this affects the older person’s taste for jam butties and custard creams, and sprouts too perhaps?

Thank you for all your comments I have managed to get some a lidls thanks to all your kind comments


If you’re interested in plant biochemistry, and how enzymatic pathways affect the degree of thiolylization:

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I actually prefer them raw (in fact I like several veg more raw than cooked) so while I hated them when I was young I now find them quite palatable if cooked minimally - hot but still al dente.

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