Forget the Marmite argument, one thing that’s guaranteed to divide opinion at Christmastime is humble Brussels sprout.
It seems though, that there is actually a completely scientific reason to explain why Brussels sprouts cause such fuss year after year.
You may be genetically programmed to hate them
Students from The Eden Project, have found that Brussels sprouts contain a chemical which tastes bitter to people who have a particular mutated gene.
According to the research, around half of the world’s population have the mutated gene. This means that 50% of diners will be immune to the bitter taste, the other 50% just won’t be able to stand them.
Personally, I adore sprouts and have been known to buy a whole pack and eat them in one sitting.
Yep, the following day wasn’t my best!
But why does it matter?
Sprouts are really bloomin’ good for you
The health benefits of Brussels sprouts just too big to ignore.
Sprouts are said to be able to:
- Improve the digestive process
- Boost metabolism
- Prevent anemia
- Aid weight loss
- Lower cholesterol
- Reduce blood pressure
- Protect against cancer
- Boost skin health
- Improve vision
- Increase usable energy reserves.
I’d say, that’s a pretty impressive list.
The thing is though, if your diner has the mutated gene, it’ll be virtually impossible to convince them that they should give their sprouts a try.
Especially if they are a little diner.
How to make your child love Brussels sprouts
- Show them how to grow. Did you know that sprouts grow on a stalk and don’t just arrive in bags ready to steam? Show your child how they grow because they do look funny, and they will probably think so too.
- Change the texture. A whole sprout in the mouth isn’t everyone’s favourite thing. Chop them up to make them more palatable.
- Don’t boil the life out of them. Instead try roasting or stir-frying them.
- Try a child-friendly recipe. Other flavours can help to disguise the bitterness (if they experience that), so try a healthy child-friendly Brussels sprout recipe like this one.
If all else fails and your child is still rejecting the little green dudes, just like hidden vegetable pasta sauces, you could try sneaking them into other things.
My Nan used to make a mean bubble and squeak recipe by mashing in leftover vegetables, and I don’t think I ever questioned what was in it. Mix the sprouts in too, and pan fry or grill them until they crisp up a little.
It’s a sure fire winner.
Are you a lover or hater of the Brussels sprout at Christmas?