I have a familiar story for you – when I was a kid I hate Brussels sprouts! They were slimy, bitter, little parcels of hate that reminded me of green single-serve onions and I absolutely refused to eat them. Many tantrums ensued around my family’s dinner table due to these little bundles!
If you’re thinking, “Me too!” then you’re not alone. Brussels sprouts have a terrible reputation at the dinner table, but it’s time that changed. Cooked properly, Brussels sprouts are powerhouses of nutrition and flavour, packed with antioxidants and vitamins and just begging to be placed front-and-centre at the head of the dinner table where they belong.
So why should you give Brussels sprouts another chance? There’s more than one reason:
1. Think Brussels sprouts are bitter? It may be in your genes
You might want to grab a pen and write this down – it’s called the TAS2R38 gene, and it’s a protein coding gene that binds to a chemical called phenylthiocarbamide, or PTC, in our mouths. Variations of this chemical gives our tastebuds different impressions of bitterness.
Scientists think that some people may be more sensitive to this chemical reaction because PTC is just not commonly found in the human diet. Around 50% of the population will taste the bitterness associated with Brussels sprouts. Some people won’t taste anything at all.
Bottom line: Some people are just super-sensitive to bitterness in food. But never fear! Read on to find out why that not be as big a problem as you think.