Rotten sprouts: Any way to tell before you buy?
- pane Dec 8, 2012 03:01 PM
I picked up a pound of organic brussels sprouts this morning from a vendor at San Francisco's Ferry Plaza. The price was way higher than I've ever paid for sprouts, so I chose them carefully, but when I got home and started to prep them for roasting, I was surprised to see that about a third of the sprouts I bought were rotten at the core and had to be tossed. They looked fine on the outside, so I couldn't tell they were gunky and brown in the middle until I had sliced through.
Sprout lovers: was there any way to tell that this would happen, other than asking the vendor to slice through a sprout?
try them in store.
haha! Honestly though the only way I check for good sprouts is just what you did, make sure they look good and fresh on the outside-good green color, firm closed leaves, etc. In any event I would call the store. Many places will refund your money or offer you a replacement.
I think with things like sprouts, onions and for that matter citrus fruits, etc you really don't know until you cut into them. I received some gorgeous onions in my CSA. They looked perfect and had a fresh onion-y aroma, not too strong. Sliced them open and brown and rotting inside. What can you do <shrug>
I touched, and gazed upon their sprouty beauty, at the farmers' market, but didn't notice any squish. They weren't all 100% rotten inside (rotten enough to squish if I squeezed), most had a 2 or more layers of rot toward the core which meant they got booted out of my roasting pan, but I don't think squeezing would have ID'd it.
I LOVE sprouts, but have never had much luck buying them loose from any vendor. So these days, if I don't still have them growing in my garden, I either buy frozen OR on-the-stalk, which more & more supermarkets are carrying these days & have for the past several years. Have never been disappointed with the quality of on-the-stalk (or the ones from my own garden. ;)).
Oh - & you did everything correct re: choosing. Sometimes there's just no way to tell what's going on inside. And to be fair to the vendor, he/she probably didn't know either.
I believe the most useful way to screen sprouts is to check them for firmness, the color of the leaves, and avoid those that have browned cut ends. I've never had sprouts with core rot unless I kept them too long, and then it was visibly obvious on the outside that they had gone bad.
I disagree with this. Frankly, even in the best of stores, no grocer has a sterile knife handy plus the time to sit around cutting individual sprouts in half for a customer.
In addition, cutting the sprouts in half that long before cooking - unless you're planning on cooking them as soon as you get home - will result in unpleasantly browned edges & loss of quality.
Frankly, I'd rather take my changes with the whole sprouts.