With a name as strange and unfamiliar as its appearance, this surprisingly light and versatile vegetable has its roots in the cruciferous vegetable family, the same family as some of our household favorites such as broccoli and cabbage. Kohlrabi is a large bulbous steam vegetable with a mild and delicate mustard flavor and crisp texture similar to that of an apple.
Kohlrabi has made most of its claim to fame in Germany and other Eastern European cuisine but has a long culinary history in Asia as well. Here in America, this mysterious and mostly unknown vegetable has yet to make its mark on our dinner plates unlike a lot of its cousins such as kale and cauliflower.
Though unfamiliar, kohlrabi has many known benefits to make it a worthy component to anyone’s diet. Known as a cool season crop, this fast growing vegetable can tolerate light frosts in the garden as well as can withstand temperatures up to 85 degrees making it suitable for most temperaments and ready for harvest in the spring and fall. Not only is kohlrabi a great addition to the garden, it also supplies amazing nutritional and health benefits packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Just like other cruciferous vegetables, kohlrabi is high in dietary fiber which aides in digestive health and helps regulate blood sugar. It is also high in minerals such as potassium, copper and iron that are essential for proper nerve and muscle function, as well as contains anti-oxidant components that are protective against cancer.
At first this vegetable may look intimidating and hard to use, but when it’s outer covering is peeled off, it can be used in most cooking methods, as well as eaten raw. It can be baked, sautéed, broiled, used in stuffing, roasted and even grilled on a kabob. The leaves can be eaten too, used similarly to or in place of kale.
3 simple ways to enjoy kohlrabi:
- Eat raw with either shredded in a salad or alone chopped in big chucks lightly sprinkled in salt.
- Throw into a chunky vegetable soup, or pureed with potatoes, spices and cream.
- Enjoy as a hash patter or as a fitter shredded and mixed with an egg and flour and fried in a pan.