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How to Trim Brussels Sprouts – Brussels sprouts are one of those foods that people either love or hate. If you fall into the latter group, it’s likely that you haven’t sampled them right out of the garden when they’re at their best. These fairly unusually shaped plants produce small cabbages (expanded auxiliary buds) that are harvested by cutting the stalks off the plants. It’s possible that you’re wondering how to trim Brussels sprout plants, or if you even need to clip Brussels sprouts, if this is your first time growing them yourself. Continue reading to find out more.
Pruning Brussels sprouts is a time-consuming task
Belgian sprouts were initially planted in Brussels, which is where they got their name. Brussels sprouts are a cool-weather crop that thrives in temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (15-18 degrees Celsius). If the weather is moderate enough, they may even be able to survive the whole winter season in certain areas. The plants grow similarly to broccoli and cauliflower, on soil that drains well and receives enough water.
When it comes to this plant, one of the most frequently asked topics is concerning pruning. Is it necessary to prune Brussels sprouts, and if so, when and how should it be done?
If you have Brussels sprouts, you should prune the leaves when they are about to flower.
Sprouts form at the base of the plant closest to the earth and continue to grow their way up the plant for many weeks after that. In the United States, harvesting Brussels sprouts starts about the middle of October and continues into the winter if you collect individual sprouts rather than the whole plant. It is time to harvest the sprouts when the heads are 1 to 2 inches (2.5–5 cm) wide and firm, with a bright green color.
The time is right to trim the leaves of Brussels sprouts since you will be removing the lower sprouts at this point. All you have to do is remove any yellowing leaves to enable the plant to put all of its energy into developing new sprouts as well as new leaves.
When it comes to the topic of whether or not Brussels sprouts should be trimmed, the answer is yes. No, but you will be prolonging the harvest and output of the plant if you remove any dead leaves from its branches. Continue reading to learn how to prune Brussels sprouts in the most effective manner.
Tips to Trim Brussels Sprouts Plants
Light trimming of Brussels sprout plants will stimulate rapid growth and additional sprout development, which will result in more sprouts to sauté, roast, or otherwise prepare for consumption.
When you see at least one sprout developing on your Brussels sprouts, it’s time to start trimming. Hand pruners should be used to remove the bottom six to eight leaves at this time. The cut should be made as near as possible to the main vertical stem of the plant. Continue to cut two or three lower leaves each week for the remainder of the growth season, being careful to leave some big, healthy top leaves to provide nutrition to the plant.
Three weeks before you want to harvest the sprouts, stop pruning any lower-growing leaves. With the pruners, cut 1 to 2 inches (2.5–5 cm) from the topmost vertical stalk–straight across the stem just above a leaf–from the top of the stem. Brussels sprouts are best pruned in this manner if you want to mislead the plant into ripening at the same time as the rest of the crop. Commercial farmers use this type of trimming in order to bring their goods to market as quickly as possible.
The plant does not need any pruning or trimming at all, although doing so might result in a longer yield with more vigorous sprouts if you do it often. Alternatively, you can simply remove sprouts as soon as they reach a big enough size by gently twisting them until they break away from the plant.