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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?

  1. p
    Puffin3 Dec 10, 2012 10:03 AM

    Tell you grocer you want to buy sprouts cut in half. Tell him/her your issue. If the store has any integrity the grocer will be more than happy to cut each sprout in half.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Puffin3
      Bacardi1 Dec 11, 2012 01:47 PM

      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.

    2. Midlife Dec 9, 2012 11:28 AM

      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.

      1. Bacardi1 Dec 8, 2012 03:41 PM

        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.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bacardi1
          greygarious Dec 8, 2012 04:19 PM

          This time of year, Trader Joe's has stalks for $3.49 - per stalk, which is a great bargain. The same price as last year, surprisingly. The one I got yesterday was so large that it would have made a formidable club.

          1. re: greygarious
            Bacardi1 Dec 9, 2012 06:37 AM

            That IS a good price. I believe our local Martins supermarket is selling them for $4 & change. But they ARE decent-sized stalks with probably a couple of pounds of sprouts on them, so it's not "too" bad.

            1. re: Bacardi1
              greygarious Dec 9, 2012 09:09 AM

              This year I have been taking them off the stalk as needed but removed all at once from last year's smaller stalk, and filled a gallon bag to brimming.

        2. h
          Harters Dec 8, 2012 03:15 PM

          Wouldn't they be soft to the touch if they were gunky inside? Fondling yer veggies is a surefire way to know what condition they're in.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Harters
            pane Dec 8, 2012 03:20 PM

            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.

            1. re: pane
              h
              Harters Dec 9, 2012 03:07 AM

              I'm tempted to say that you got everything you deserve for buying the vile, farty things in the first place. But then, I'm someone who despises sprouts with a vengeance usually reserved for political despots and child murderers. :-0

          2. f
            foodieX2 Dec 8, 2012 03:14 PM

            try them in store.

            <<duck>>

            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>

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