December's Tip of the Month - Twist and Sprout!
Love them or loathe them, Christmas would not be complete without Brussels sprouts. If you are cooking with or growing sprouts (or any other veg) at school, or even visiting a local farm to see them being harvested, then by linking these activities to the curriculum, you are one step closer to achieving your Bronze and Silver Awards. Follow our top tips to look after your sprouts….
Stake and earth up Brussels sprout plants that are at risk of blowing over in harsh weather. Loose soil around the roots leads to Brussels sprouts not heating up properly. Dig a compost trench to deal with Brussels sprouts, kale and other tough brassica stems once cropping has finished. The trench should be about a spade’s depth, preferably where runner beans, or other peas and beans will grow next year. Lay the brassica stems along the bottom of the trench, and then chop them up a bit with a sharp spade. Other vegetable scraps can also be added. When you’ve finished, replace the soil to the trench. Buried in a trench, any pests such as whitefly and aphids that are over wintering on the plants are out of harm’s way.
This contentious vegetable is not just for the festive period; it can comfortably be eaten for the four frosty months of the year. The key to success is entirely in the cooking method. Surely gone are the days of boiling sprouts to beyond recognition? Steaming, microwaving and stir-frying are the best ways of bringing out their delicious delicate flavour. Look out for small, tight, green Brussels sprouts avoid the larger, leafy, yellow ones still left on the shelf.
Try to only boil or steam your sprouts for a short time (5 or 6 minutes) so they retain a slight crunch. One of our favourite ways to cook with sprouts is to stir-fry them; quartered baby sprouts with salty, crisp bacon pieces and flaked almonds or chestnut pieces. Try adding warm spices such as ground coriander, cumin, nutmeg or caraway seeds. Delicious!
If these ideas haven’t inspired you, have a look at these lovely sprout wreaths, waste not want not!
Food Education Criteria
Bronze: Our pupils have the opportunity to take part in cooking activities, and this is linked to wider learning.
Bronze: Our pupils have the opportunity to grow and harvest food and make compost and this is linked to wider learning.
Bronze: We organise an annual farm visit, and this is linked to wider learning.
Silver: We have established a cooking club and our pupils are cooking with seasonal, local and organic ingredients.
Silver: We ensure pupils in our garden group are growing fruit, vegetables and herbs organically.
Silver: We have produce from our school garden available at least once a term for our pupils to eat or cook with.