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Don't Fear the Kohlrabi

Greg nor I had ever heard of kohlrabi until we started ordering seeds the first year we started growing vegetables. Kohlrabi is a bizarre looking form of the common cabbage in which the base of the stem swells into a globe the size of an orange, with tentacle like stems and ruffled leaves. It looks like someone teleported a vegetable from Mars right into your kitchen. But in truth, kohlrabi is incredibly versatile.

The globe, which forms just above the soil, is the part of the plant of most interest to the cook. When young, this has the texture of a good turnip and a flavor which has elements of both turnip and cauliflower. The word kohlrabi is German for “cabbage turnip," and the name comes from a mistaken belief that it's a cross between cabbage or kale and turnip. Its flavor is only fully released when it is as tender as soft fruit, so there is no worry in under cooking it!

The most frequent answers we got when asking what to do with this odd looking creature was to slice it and eat it raw with a dash of salt and pepper. Which, it turns out, is pretty delicious. It has a refreshing taste, similar to a broccoli stem. We also enjoy them roasted with potatoes and onions. They're also a great addition grated and raw in a salad. One of our favorite ways to prepare them is as Kohlrabi Fritters.

Summer is not kind to kohlrabi, turning it woody and tough, so get some now or you’ll miss out on one of late spring’s crunchiest delights. Whatever way you like to prepare or eat them, we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Nutritional Value

Although the outside color of kohlrabi depends on the variety, the inside is always the same crisp white flesh with a clean, mild taste. Kohlrabi is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium, and also contains vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium and copper. The kohlrabi leaves are rich in vitamin A, so don’t forget to sauté them or use them into a soup or stir fry.

Storing Kohlrabi Make sure the bulb is kohlrabi firm and solid — never squishy. Kohlrabi has good keeping qualities and can be placed at room temperature for about 3 days, but remove the leaves and stem ends. But don't throw away the greens. Those can be eaten and used in dishes too.

However, If you wish to store for few more days, store the whole unwashed kohlrabi in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. It should last 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Cleaning and Preparing Kohlrabi Rinse kohlrabi under cold running water just before use. Unless the skin seems particularly tough, kohlrabi does not have to be peeled. Just trim off the remains of the stalks and root. Grate, slice, or chop kohlrabi as desired. If you want to peel the kohlrabi, peel the skin using a paring knife.

Freezing Kohlrabi You can freeze kohlrabi to us in stews and soups for the winter months. Peel , dice, and blanch for 2-3 minutes and then submerge in ice water.

Serving Suggestions and Ideas Cut raw kohlrabi into sticks or slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fresh young crispy kohlrabi can be used raw in salad/coleslaw. Stewed or baked kohlrabi cubes mix well with meats and poultry. Substitute kohlrabi where recipes call for carrots, potatoes or turnips.Eat the kohlrabi greens as you would kale. Peel stem, cut into slices or cubes, and mix with other vegetables like potatoes and stewed with onion.

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