• Farmer Amy

Kohlrabi: What is it and how to eat it

Updated: Jun 22


What is it?

Kohlrabi is a vegetable in the Brassica family and comes in 2 colors purple and white (green). If you've seen this vegetable available at the local farmer's markets it looks a bit like an alien vegetable with a bulb on the bottom and large leaves protruding up. Most of this deliciousness is edible, but I do make a few exceptions for the actual stalk and the rind.

The taste of this vegetable is like that of a mild cabbage. The texture of the bulb is like that of raw potato and the leaves are similar to collard greens or outer cabbage leaves. The taste does not change by color and the inside of the bulb is white regardless of the leaves and rind. The purple tends to produce more leaves than the white varieties.

Pictured above both varieties of Kohlrabi White and Purple

How to grow it?

Kohlrabi prefers the cool weather. These plants do best in the Spring or Fall, but don't prefer the heat of summer. Seedlings can be started indoors and then transplanted outside to get a head start on the growing season. Plant about 1 foot apart. These plants leaf out quite a bit.

Pictured above: Kohlrabi in different stages of development

When to harvest?

The Kohlrabi will begin to swell and develop a bulb where the leaves meet the stem. When the bulb reaches 3"+ it is ready to harvest. Some people swear that younger Kohlrabi is more tender, but I have harvested Kohlrabi weighing over 2 pounds (pictured at the bottom of the article) that were just as tender. The difference in tenderness is more dependent on the weather conditions the Kohlrabi develops in including heat and water availability.

How to store it?

The bulb can be stored in the fridge for weeks or sometimes months. Cut the leaves off and either use them or store them in the freezer. The greens will last in the fridge for a few days, but are better when used fresh. If I know I'm storing the bulb long-term, I'll throw it in a zippable storage bag and add a paper towel to draw away moisture. The bulb can also be frozen or dehydrated and stored in an airtight container, but I recommend peeling off the rind and cutting it into the appropriate size for the intended recipe before freezing or dehydrating.

Pressure canning is not advised for Kohlrabi because it tends develop a strong flavor, is likely to discolor, and is potentially unsafe.

Pictured top and going clockwise: Full Kohlrabi bulb, Kohlrabi quartered and peeled ready to use, Kohlrabi quartered with peel on.

How to eat it?

Raw

While you certainly can it eat raw, and I tend to snack on it while prepping it for dishes, I don't typically chow down on this like an apple. It wouldn't be bad for you if you choose to do so, it's just not my preference.

Dehydrated

Add dehydrated Kohlrabi bulb or leaves to soups and let cook for at least 20 minutes.

Sautéed​​

Clean, destem, and cut leaves into bite size pieces. Add 2 tablespoons bacon fat or butter to hot skillet and coat the bottom of the pan. Then add prepared leaves to the skillet, 1 clove minced garlic, and salt to taste. Stir and cover over medium heat. Cook until wilted. Add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar and remove lid. Stir until vinegar cooks into the greens and serve.

Roasted

Simple Roast

Directions

Remove the leaves, stems, and peel the rind from the bulb portion of the kohlrabi.

Cut the bulb into batonnet size pieces.

Place into gallon size zippable bag.

Add other desired vegetables of similar cut style/size for even cooking. My favorites are beets, carrots, and Brussel sprouts.

Add enough olive oil to lightly coat all vegetables when mixed plus salt and pepper to taste.

Spread onto a single layer of a cookie sheet. Cook at 450 degrees F and stir every 15 minutes until vegetables are tender enough to pierce with a fork.

Roasted Kohlrabi with Parmesan Cheese

Review: This is a decadent way to eat Kohlrabi, much like adding cheese to broccoli. The cheese isn't really needed, but… cheese. I mean cheese makes everything better.

Ingredients

4 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Cut the kohlrabi into 1/4 inch thick slices, then cut each of the slices in half. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi slices in the olive oil mixture to coat. Spread kohlrabi in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until browned, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally in order to brown evenly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven to allow the Parmesan cheese to brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2016 Allrecipes.com

Baked

Kohlrabi Fries

Review: Easy to make. I get a bit heavy handed with the seasonings and tend to add more than the recipe calls for because I like my food to have flavor. Additionally, I like to add some salt to this recipe to bring out the flavors of the dish.

Ingredients

2 kohlrabi roots, stems and leaves removed 1 teaspoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash the kohlrabi, then use a sharp paring knife or good vegetable peeler to peel. Cut them into thin strips.

In a medium bowl, toss the kohlrabi fries with olive oil, chili powder and ground cumin, coating them evenly.

Spread the kohlrabi in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, flipping once, until they are soft and getting blistered and dark on the outside. Remove and eat warm.Taken from the Rachel Ray

Kohlrabi Bread

Review: In full disclosure, I tried this recipe once. For me, it was a major fail.

I thought it would be a great way to use our extra Kohlrabi and add some vegetables to make our bread healthier. It made the bread too heavy which caused the loaf to not rise properly and the middle collapsed. I don't recommend this recipe unless you're willing to take the risk of repeating history.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups peeled and diced kohlrabi 3/4 cup fat-free milk 2 tablespoons canola oil 2 cups bread flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons dried rosemary 2 teaspoons instant yeast (such as SAF-instant)

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook kohlrabi at a boil until completely tender, 5 to 7 minutes; drain.

  2. Transfer drained kohlrabi to a blender; puree until smooth.

  3. Place milk, kohlrabi puree, oil, bread flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt, rosemary, and yeast into bread machine pan, in order listed.

  4. Set machine for medium crust on the Basic cycle and press Start. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2017 Allrecipes.com

This year we have had a bumper crop of Kohlrabi. Stay tuned for more recipes as we try to make the best use of the harvest.

~Farmer Amy

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