Kohlrabi is definitely one of winter’s lesser known vegetables, but if you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out! They truly look alien—the part that’s usually eaten is a swollen bulb-like stem, with smaller stems that shoot off of it and sprout leaves. But funny looks aside, this member of the cabbage family is super yummy and nutritious: one cup raw provides all the vitamin C you need for an entire day, and it’s a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and the mineral potassium that’s good for the heart.
Kohlrabi grows similarly to many of the other winter root vegetables we’ve featured this season, like turnips and rutabaga. It’s best to start kohlrabi seedlings in small containers indoors and transplant them to the garden after 3 or 4 weeks. Kohlrabi should be harvested about 60 days after planting, so we typically plant the seedlings in the early spring to get a June harvest and at the end of summer and for a fall harvest. Its tough skin, either light green or deep purple, helps protect it from cold weather.
Kohlrabi tastes like a mix between a cabbage and a turnip, but the flavor is milder and sweeter than many bitter cabbages. You can eat the young leaves in salads or simply sautéed in olive oil, but they’re a bit bitter. As for the main stem/bulb, we recommend boiling and mashing it, or roasting chopped cubes of it. Just remember to do a thorough job peeling the thick outer layer. Thinly sliced raw kohlrabi (a very good source of fiber) would be a great addition to this Apple Raisin Slaw we featured last week because it goes particularly well with apples! Hope you include this alien veggie on your winter menus!
Do you grow kohlrabi? Share your kohlrabi tips and recipes with us so more people will eat it!