Brussels sprouts have something of a complicated reputation. People tend to love them or hate them, but all agree on one thing: They’re very much a Christmas food.

But why is it that Brussels sprouts are banished to just one time of year? Turkey seems to have gotten away much easier – it might be the centrepiece of the festive meal, but people still have it at other times, at Thanksgiving or in stews and sandwiches.

Admittedly sprouts are a perfect Christmas food – the dark green is very festive-looking, especially when served with bacon and seasonally-appropriate chestnuts.

However, Brussels sprouts deserve so much more – they’re basically delicious mini cabbages, so why can’t they be enjoyed all year round? Here’s why you should be eating your sprouts on a regular basis – not just in December.

They have loads of health benefits
Considering sprouts are closely related to the likes of kale and cauliflower, they’re similarly jam-packed with nutrients.

They’re high in the likes of vitamin K and C, which help bone health and your immune system. They also are high in fibre to boost your gut health and contain high levels of antioxidants, which can help lower your risk of certain diseases and cancers.

With so many benefits, why would you only want to reap them once a year?

They’re super versatile
Many people hate sprouts because they’ve only really had uninspiring boiled ones. This is totally unappealing, but that’s definitely not the only way to do sprouts. In fact, when cooked right (which isn’t hard at all), they’re incredibly versatile and can be made into so many different dishes.

Sprouts in fried rice, sprouts on pizza, sprouts in pasta – they don’t have to be a soggy side dish, they work very well as the main event.

They’re not as wintry as you might think
As they’re normally slathered in a buttery sauce and served piping hot, you could be forgiven for thinking of Brussels sprouts as a heavy kind of food.

However, they’re not as wintry as you might think. If you overcome these mental associations you’ll realise sprouts make a perfect light dish for summer as well – maybe in a salad or a summer slaw.

You don’t even have to cook your sprouts; soften them in an acidic dressing for half an hour or so and they’ll be tender enough to eat.

They work as a snack
Bake them in the oven and you have some crunchy and delicious crisps that are a whole lot healthier than the fried potato alternative.

They’re easily available
You might only think to buy sprouts in December, but they’re actually in season from October to March and they’re also not hugely expensive.

They’re pretty
Even if you don’t fancy loading up your plate with sprouts all year long, why not use them as decoration? You’ve probably seen them being made into alternative wreaths, but the columns of sprouts could also be used as alternative home decor.

Who needs orchids or lilies when you’ve got Brussels sprouts?