Why do we hate the Brussel Sprout?

 It isn’t a secret that Brussel sprouts are one of the top HATED vegetables in the US. A 2008 survey by the Heinz Corporation reveals that Brussel sprouts are the #1 most hated food by Americans. This poor misunderstood vegetable continues to rank amongst the

bitter face

Courtesy of fan pop

top 5 hated food and vegetables around the world. Amazingly enough, the Brussel sprout is very high in protein for a green vegetable, and you can meet your needs of Vitamin C and Vitamin K for the day by eating only one serving. With the health-food craze sweeping the nation surely this fact alone will make you want to give them a try! In order to love the Brussel sprout let’s first identify why some of us are programmed to hate it? Then we can look at some recipes to make even the harshest critic a Brussel Sprout fan.

  • Bitterness is the #1 reason associated with the dislike of Brussel sprouts.

As it turns out we were programmed to avoid bitter and sour foods as a sort of safety measure for survival! This kept our ancestors from ingesting toxic plants that are generally bitter to the taste.

But why do some of us love Brussels sprouts and some of us hate them?

Apparently some of us have a TAS2R38 gene. This gene makes a protein that interlocks with a chemical called PTC and gives the taste sensation of bitterness. Scientists claim that those of us that do not have this gene cannot taste the bitterness and, therefore, love them. Almost about 50 percent of the population is able to enjoy the Brussels sprout without the taste of bitterness, so let’s work on getting the other part of the population to enjoy them as well.

A couple of recipes that will reduce the bitterness and enhance the natural sweetness.

Maple Roasted Brussel sprouts with Bacon

  • 1 lb. Brussel Sprouts, trimmed & halved
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 slices bacon, but into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Cooking Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place your Brussel sprouts in a single layer, in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup; toss to coat. Sprinkle with bacon and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven until bacon is crispy and Brussel sprouts are caramelized, 45 minutes, stirring hallway through. Enjoy!


Roasted Garlic Brussel sprouts

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 lbs. Brussel sprouts, trimmed & halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Cooking Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil baking sheet or coat with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk honey and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, save for later. Place your Brussel sprouts in a single layer, in a baking dish. Add remaining balsamic vinegar, olive oil, bacon and garlic; season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Place into preheated oven and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until tender. Stir in honey mixture. Enjoy!

This Camden associate (doesn’t have the bitter gene) is happy that I have always been able to enjoy the Brussels sprout with or without the sweetness added. But for those of you that have the PTC gene, I hope that the above recipes make a difference and you are able to give your body the vitamins it’s craving! Stay tuned for my next blog, Brussel Sprouts on the Barbi – Healthy Game Day Treats!

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