‘Monster’ sprouts are biggest for a decade

Yasmin Clappison of Park Farm near Beverley, East Yorkshire, with some of the giant sprouts that have been harvested this year.
Yasmin Clappison of Park Farm near Beverley, East Yorkshire, with some of the giant sprouts that have been harvested this year.
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Monster sprouts, bigger than the size of golf balls, will hit Morrisons UK stores this week.

The gigantic brassicas are the biggest for a decade. They have grown 20 per cent larger than a normal year.

The super-size sprouts will measure approximately 40mm wide and 45mm long. Each sprout is expected to weigh about 35g, compared to a ‘normal’ 15g.

For sprout lovers, it’s good news. For children, it’s bad news. The super-sprout will not be able to be consumed in just one mouthful. Research shows that the average child’s mouth size is only 45mm.

The sprouts have grown to an enormous size due to milder weather and good growing conditions throughout the British summer and autumn. Average UK temperatures have been as high as 15°C during November. This has caused the sprouts to reach maturity quicker, then grow even bigger.

The monster sprouts will have the same sweet and mild taste. They will be the same vivid green colour. Though large, the sprouts will also have tightly packed leaves and a lovely crunchy texture. However, they will take an extra 1-2 minutes to cook, due to their giant size.

John Clappison, one of Morrisons sprout growers, whose farm is in East Yorkshire said: “Our sprout plants have loved the warmer weather. The higher temperatures have made them shoot up and produce the biggest most succulent sprouts that we’ve seen 10 years!”

Graham Cottee, Sprout Buyer at Morrisons said: “Normally, the sprouts we sell are only 30mm in diameter and weigh 15g. We expect these bigger sprouts will be highly sought after by some sprout lovers!”

Over 1,000 tonnes of the super-size sprouts will be supplied to the retailer over the winter. The sprout season normally runs until the end of March. Morrisons sprouts take only 48 hours to get from field to store, meaning the supermarket offers some of the freshest on the market.

Did you know?

Originally thought to come from Afghanistan and Iran, records show the Romans cultivated Brussels sprouts. Belgium then grew the vegetable widely from the 13th century, giving them their current name.

2. Sprouts are members of the brassica family, which also includes cabbage, broccoli and kale.

3. There are more than 100 varieties of sprouts.

4. 82,000 tons of Brussels sprouts are grown in the UK every year. The area covered by Brussels sprout fields in the UK is the equivalent of 3,240 football pitches.

5. Sprouts are in season August to April. New varieties and modern growing techniques have extended the traditionally shorter sprout season.

6. Overcooking sprouts makes them release bitter tasting compounds and sulphur-like smells which people find off-putting. Remember not to cook the sprouts for too long – approximately 7-8 minutes is perfect.

7. Buying sprouts on their stalk keeps them fresher for longer. Stand the stalk in water to keep them really fresh, and just pick what you need.

8. Bacon, chestnuts, lemon, almonds, nutmeg, cream, garlic all go well with sprouts.

9. Sprouts are a rich source of Vitamin C and folic acid. One 80g serving of cooked sprouts provides you with 80% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C – four times the amount of vitamin C than an orange, and 44% of your RDA of folic acid.

10. The heaviest ever sprout was grown in 1992 and weighed 8.3kg (18lb/3oz).