Harvest Brussels sprouts when they are ½ to 1¾ inches (1-4 cm) in diameter, green, and firm.
Brussels sprouts are ready for harvest 90 to 110 days after sowing.
When to harvest Brussels sprouts
- Start picking after the first frost and continue into early winter in cold-winter regions. Sprouts become sweeter and more flavorful after they’ve been touched by frost. Sprouts can be harvested from beneath the snow.
- In mild-winter regions, Brussels sprouts planted in late summer or fall can be harvested all winter.
- During harvest pick off soft and undersized sprouts even if you don’t plan to eat them; also remove leaves below the sprouts you’ve picked; this will keep the plant growing tall and producing new sprouts.
- A single plant will produce about 100 sprouts over 2 to 3 months. Sprouts left on the plant for too long will start to yellow and the tightly wrapped leaves will loosen.
- Plants will produce quickly at first but as the weather gets colder and colder production will slow. Fully mature sprouts can remain on the plant in cold weather; harvest sprouts as you need them.
- To protect plants from hard freezes, bury them up to their top leaves in straw and pull back the straw as you want to harvest. If temperatures drop consistently below 20°F (-6°C), complete the harvest and store the sprouts.
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How to harvest Brussels sprouts
- Harvest sprouts by beginning at the bottom of the plant and picking off sprouts that are about the size of a marble or larger. Continue the harvest by moving up the stalk.
- Sprouts grow at the base of each leaf close to the plant’s main stem. Grasp each sprout with two fingers and simply give a twist to pull it away or use garden scissors, but don’t cut too close to the stem.
- If you want to harvest most of the sprouts on a plant at once, wait until the lower sprouts are about ½ inch in diameter then cut off the top of the plant about two weeks before you want to harvest.
- Removing the top leaves and the growing tip will direct the plant’s energy into maturing sprouts.
How to store Brussels sprouts
- Store Brussels sprouts cold and moist, 32°-40°F (0°-4°C) and 95 percent relative humidity. Cold and moist storage is a challenge. Refrigerators provide the cold, but they also dry the air.
- Store sprouts unwashed and wrapped in a moist towel in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper section of the refrigerator. Refrigerated sprouts will keep for 3 to 5 weeks.
- You can store sprouts individually or attached to the whole stalk. If you store the whole stalk, wrap a moist paper towel around the stub to extend storage.
- In very cold winter areas, you can dig up some of the plants and move them into a cold frame or into containers in a cool garage or basement. You can harvest sprouts from these plants for several months.
- Leaves from the Brussels sprouts plant are edible but they are thicker and tougher than cabbage so they are best chopped and steamed for serving.
Kitchen tips: How to Cook and Serve Brussels Sprouts
Growing tips: How to Grow Brussels Sprouts
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More harvest tips:
Learn when and how to harvest your favorite vegetables for the best flavor and texture. Get storage tips for each crop. Click on the vegetable you are growing below.
- Brussels Sprouts
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