Hustling Up Some Brussels Sprouts

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - June 25, 2008
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Christy Wyckoff is a PDT technician and medical assistant at Straub Hospital’s Dermatology Department. PDT stands for Photo Dynamic Therapy, which is a relatively new technique that uses a natural chemical and a special blue light to remove pre-cancerous lesions on the scalp and face. When the FDAfirst approved this technique, Christy had it done to herself so she could feel exactly what the patients would experience.

Christy came to Hawaii two years ago from California where she worked as a medical assistant for eight dermatologists at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. While there, she received extensive onthe-job training in various techniques to assist doctors treating patients with a variety of skin problems.

It is a pleasure to dedicate this column to a dedicated health professional whose specialized training and experience benefit the people of Hawaii on a daily basis.

Brussels sprouts are related to wild cabbage and thought to have been developed a few hundred years ago close to Brussels, the Belgian city for which it is named. Brussels sprouts resemble small cabbages and are usually harvested when they reach a diameter of about 1 inch (the tenderest size).

To prepare, peel off any loose or yellowing leaves and wash well under running water to remove any debris that may be in the leaves.

When purchasing, choose firm, compact sprouts that have no yellowing leaves. Try to select similar-size pieces to ensure uniform cooking. They will keep for about four days unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. You may freeze them after blanching for three to five minutes, depending on the size of the sprouts, and will keep for about a year if frozen properly.

Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid and potassium. They also contain vitamin B-6, iron, thiamine, magnesium, vitamin A, phosphorus and niacin. They also are thought to have cancer-inhibiting properties.


* 3 cups Brussels sprouts
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
* 1 cup water
* 1 tablespoon Smart Balance margarine (melted)
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 can mandarin oranges


Cut bottom stems from Brussels sprouts and arrange in 1-1/2 quart, covered, microwave-safe dish. Add water, cover and microwave on high until sprouts are crisp-tender (about eight to 10 minutes).

While sprouts are cooking, combine brown sugar with water and stir until dissolved. Add melted margarine and cinnamon, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to simmer and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring a few times. When ready to serve, pour sauce over sprouts and stir to lightly coat. Add oranges and stir carefully to combine. Makes six servings


Calories: 180
Fat: 2 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 50 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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