It’s a good thing to be a prepper, in the context that you accept that bad things can happen, happen unexpectedly and it is in your best interest and the best interest of your loved ones to be ready for those occasions.
But, it is easy to forget that despite your efforts you might not have access to everything that you think you will when you need it.
Supply shortages, loss of stored food, loss of crops and more can lead to some desperate measures when it comes to food, and the simple necessity of the event might mean you aren’t even able to cook food prior to eating it.
Most fruits and veggies can be eaten safely when raw, but not quite all. Take brussels sprouts, for instance: can you eat raw brussels sprouts to survive?
Yes, raw brussels sprouts are safe to eat. Brussels sprouts are extremely nutritious and edible when raw, but not particularly appetizing and they can be difficult to digest. But, if you need food, you shouldn’t hesitate to eat them.
I can already hear some people raising an issue in the comments that you should never, ever be in a situation, even in an austere environment, where you’re unable to cook brussels sprouts, but that’s not the point.
Necessity, at one point or another, will dictate your actions, and if you find yourself in a situation where time and resources are sharply limited you’ll only need to know whether you can or you can’t.
You can eat brussels sprouts raw, but as you imagine, there is a lot more you should know. I’ll tell you all about it down below.
Are Brussels Sprouts Actually Edible When Raw?
Yes, really! Brussels sprouts are the most hated vegetable by far in North America, at least according to my own anecdotal surveys!
Naturally, the notion of eating them raw is enough to give most people fits. Brussels sprouts aren’t crisp and crunchy when raw: they are dense, chewy, dry and many types tend to be pretty bitter.
But you can eat raw brussels sprouts to survive. They are not tasty, and they have a tendency to cause indigestion when eaten in large quantities if not chewed up very well, but they’re edible and safe.
There is frankly not much about the experience that’s going to be pleasant, but it’s good to know that you can eat them raw, you can get nutrients from them and therefore they will keep you alive.
Can You Eat Cooked Brussels Sprouts to Survive?
Yes, you can, and if you have the time and resources available, cooking Brussels sprouts is the best way to prepare them as you might imagine.
Although cooked Brussels sprouts will lose significant amounts of vitamins and minerals, the nutritional content they have after cooking will be more easily digestible, and therefore more easily absorbed and utilized by the body.
Considering that cooked brussels sprouts are far tenderer and also likely to be tastier you should definitely cook them if you’re able.
Brussels Sprouts Nutritional Info
Brussels sprouts are so hated in the pantheon of vegetables, it stands to reason that they must also be highly nutritious. Generations of well-meaning parents can’t be wrong, after all!
I’m happy to report that brussels sprouts are indeed extremely nutritious, and packed with protein in a highly diverse array of vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
Examining the vitamin content first we see that they are rich with them, containing a little bit of vitamin a, beta carotene and vitamin E along with a great assortment of the B complex vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, and folate.
Choline is also present along with tremendous amounts of vitamins C and K.
And that’s just the start! The mineral content is also very impressive, and brussels sprouts are packed with manganese, iron and phosphorus along with slightly lesser amounts of potassium and magnesium and rounded out by a good shot of calcium and zinc.
Brussels sprouts also naturally contain a little bit of sodium which can help to balance your electrolytes.
All told, this excellent nutritional profile will help virtually every function in your body, and can keep you working hard over the long haul when eating regularly.
Basically, there’s no good reason why Brussels sprouts shouldn’t be a part of your diet, and that counts double if you are in the middle of a survival situation!
Are Brussels Sprout Leaves Safe to Eat?
Yes, of course! The leaves are what make up the brussels sprout itself, just like any other member of the cabbage family.
Although the Brussels sprout as a whole might feel quite dense and difficult to bite into, the individual leaves are tender, so keep that in mind if you want to make them easier to eat when raw; try picking them apart into a salad.
However, I highly recommend you discard the outermost leaves on each sprout since they will be subject to the most environmental contamination.
Germs and other things can make you sick when eating any kind of raw produce, brussels sprouts included!
Are Brussels Sprout Stems Safe to Eat?
Yes, strictly speaking, they are safe to eat, but they don’t make for good eating and they aren’t easy to eat in the first place!
The stems of the individual Brussels sprouts are extremely dense and woody. There is a reason why they are typically cut away and discarded when preparing brussels sprouts.
Can You Eat Brussels Sprout Stalks?
No. The main stalk of Brussels sprouts, which is the part that all of the tiny sprouts themselves grow on, is usually very thick, hard and unyielding even when cooked. Don’t waste your time trying to eat it!
Where Do Brussels Sprouts Grow?
Brussels sprouts, despite their reputation, are popular the world over and cultivated as a vegetable in many places anywhere they’re ideal temperature range can be attained.
Temperate areas that trend towards being cool are ideal, and a median temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius) is perfect for most varieties.
Although you might not find them growing wild in these areas, you can expect to find farms or even backyard gardens where they are being grown.
Wild or semi-wild brussels sprouts can also be found growing across most of Europe and in several areas throughout North and Central America, meaning you might luck out and locate some if you’re in the middle of a short or long-term survival situation.
It’s definitely a good idea to familiarize yourself with the prevalence of Brussels sprouts in your area so you know if you’ll be able to make use of them when and if the time comes.
Any Health Issues to Worry About When Eating Raw Brussels Sprouts?
Brussels sprouts are generally safe to eat raw, with a few specific exceptions.
The most common risk is one that is shared with pretty much every other kind of raw food, and raw produce in particular.
Brussels sprouts, like all veggies, can play host to harmful bacteria or viruses that are responsible for foodborne illnesses.
A simple case of food poisoning can make you miserable and half-cripple you with diarrhea and vomiting while more serious germs can cause weakness, fever, and other flu-like symptoms and potentially even life-threatening or fatal consequences like meningitis!
The moral of the story is that you should cook your brussels sprouts if you are able, or at least try to wash them if you are not.
At the very least, remove the outermost leaves from each sprout and hopefully it will take the majority of the germs with them.
But there are other issues to be aware of when eating raw brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts, as mentioned above, are amazingly rich with vitamin K.
Brussels sprouts have a tendency to cause indigestion, constipation and upset stomach when eaten raw unless they are very thoroughly chewed.
Most people don’t want to sit there chewing and chewing on leaves for a long period of time like some cow when they already hate the experience.
This leads to most people swallowing raw Brussels sprouts when they aren’t fully “processed” and suffering the consequences.
If you are eating Brussels sprouts raw, make it a point to thoroughly chew them and you should be okay.