How To Clean Brussels Sprouts, The Foolproof Way

Green, nutritious, and notoriously cruciferous, Brussels sprouts are delicious (albeit polarizing) vegetables that can be prepared in a plethora of ways — whether they're roasted with pancetta, shaved in a salad, or served under eggs in a Brussels sprouts hash. But if you like to cook these tiny cabbages up at home, the first step is knowing how to clean them properly.

If the Brussels sprouts you scoop up at the store look a little dirty, you might be worried about more dirt and grit that's lurking in between their many layers of leaves. But the good news is that there's a foolproof way to clean Brussels sprouts that'll get rid of any dirt or dust — whether you can see it or not.

Cleaning Brussels sprouts is a quick, easy process that only requires a couple of steps: trim, soak, rinse, and drain. All you need is a bowl, some cold water, and a colander, and in a few minutes, your Brussels sprouts will be sparkling clean and ready to prep for your favorite recipe.

Four steps to clean brussels sprouts: trim, soak, rinse, drain

The first step to properly cleaning Brussels sprouts is to trim them. You'll want to cut the small, hardened ends off of each sprout (or remove them from the stalk if you bought them that way). The outsides of the leafy veggies can sometimes appear fairly dusty or bruised; remove any discolored leaves, and then the Brussels sprouts will be ready to soak and rinse.

Next, fill a bowl with cold water and allow the Brussels sprouts to soak for a couple of minutes. At this point, any sediment or grit inside the vegetables should release and sink to the bottom. Once soaked, give them a final rinse in your colander to wash away any remaining dirt.

The last step is to simply drain the Brussels sprouts in said colander to rid them of any excess water. You can also pat them dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel, or even spin them in a salad spinner to make sure they're clean and dry before you cook or store them.

The best way to store brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts have a fairly long lifespan for a fresh, leafy vegetable; when stored properly, they can usually last in the refrigerator for over a week. However, keep in mind that the longer they're stored, the stronger or more bitter their flavor tends to become, so they're typically best enjoyed within four days.

To store Brussels sprouts, package them in a tightly sealed plastic ziplock bag or an air-tight container and keep them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, if you have one. While you may be tempted to clean and prep them ahead of time, Brussels sprouts will keep in their best condition when they're stored as is, so that no extra moisture is introduced.

That means you'll want to store your Brussels sprouts untrimmed, unwashed, and uncut — and if they came on a stalk, don't remove the sprouts until you're ready to eat them since the stalk will keep them at their freshest. Do go through them and remove any bad spots or yellowing leaves, however.