Kohlrabi is a lesser known garden vegetable that is very nutritious and easier to grow than its cabbage cousins.
Like cabbage, the entire plant is harvested and eaten before a major frost hits.
Kohlrabi is in the Brassica family. This means it is closely related to Cabbage, Broccoli, Kale, Mustard, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Turnips and Collard Greens.
Kohlrabi flavor could be described as sweet-but-peppery.
The skin has the rubbery texture of broccoli stems and can be white, light green, or bright purple. The insides are usually a creamy white.
- Sun: Full Sun/Part Shade
- Soil: Fertile, well-drained, moist soil with plenty of organic matter.
- Water use: Heavy
- Height: 1-2 feet
- Spacing: 5-8 inches
- Hardiness: Semi-warm weather hardy. Harvest before Winter. Not heavy frost tolerant.
- Not recommended in a pot or indoors.
- Bloom Time: Spring
- Toxicity: Edible
Health benefits of kohlrobi
Kohlrabi, like nearly every plant in the Brassica family, are full of health benefits. Kohlrobi is very high in vitamin C and fiber, and is a good source of vitamin B6 and potassium, too. It’s also fairly high in minerals, including copper and manganese. Kohlrabi is low in calories.
There seems to be a significant link between cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention. Several of the phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants) found in the Brassica family have been found to inhibit cancer growth. Frequent consumption of the vegetables has also been found to prevent some cancers.
Buying, Storing, and Prepping Kohlrabi
When buying kohlrabi, pick vegetables that are firm and solid — never squishy. They will keep in your crisper drawer for a week or more. To prepare them for cooking, trim off the leaves and stems (which can be saved for a stir fry!) and slice or chop the bulb into bite-sized pieces.
If the skin feels particularly thick and rubbery, you can peel it with a vegetable peeler, but otherwise, the you can leave the skin on.
Serving Kohlrabi Raw
Now, what to do with this cabbage-y broccoli-like vegetable? It’s actually pretty fantastic raw! When served raw, it has a super-crisp texture and a mild peppery bite. It’s a little like a sweet radish.
Sliced paper-thin kohlrabi makes a great addition to summer slaws.
Roast cubes or wedges in the oven. The kohlrabi turns sweet and a bit caramelized in the high heat of the oven, making a great side dish. You can also stir fry bite-sized pieces, add them to soups, or steam them. In all cases, the kohlrabi is ready to eat when it is tender. Sprinkle with salt, olive oil, and lemon juice for a simple presentation.
You’ve probably spotted knobby purple or green kohlrabi at the farmers market recently and wondered what this odd-shaped thing with the weird name is! Well, it’s a fantastically versatile vegetable with a taste and texture somewhere between cabbage and broccoli stems.
We think that it’s time for kohlrabi to step up and take a more prominent place in our cooking.
If you decide to plant this beautiful nutritious plant in your garden. I have discovered there are companion plants such as clover that should be planted close to any Brassica because of clovers natural ability to bring the nitrogen back into depleted soil because it hosts nitrogen-fixing bacteria in its roots. Clover also benefits many plants by stabilizing the moisture. Clover is a high protein legume but it is not generally eaten.