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Ask the Expert Archive

Why do people dislike the taste of Brussels sprouts?


Q. A lot of people don’t like Brussels sprouts. Why is this? Aren’t they just basically mini cabbages?


A. If you are a supertaster (about 25% of the population), your brain is wired to dislike the taste of some vegetables, like Brussels sprouts and cabbage, because they naturally contain bitter compounds. When overcooked to a mushy consistency, the dense structure of Brussels sprouts naturally releases the bitter, sulfur-type compounds. Various spices, including salt and sugar, can minimize the bitterness. Look for Brussels sprouts recipes that include dried fruit (sweet), for example, that helps reduce bitterness. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples

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