Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kohlrabi: A Lesson on Something New

Kohlrabi (German turnip) (Brassica oleracea Gongylodes group) is a low, stout cultivar of cabbage that will grow almost anywhere.
The name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus Rübe ~ Rabi (Swiss German variant) ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter, hence its Austrian name Kohlrübe.

The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.
(Definition taken from Wikipedia )
This description is what sold Cam and I on trying to grow this vegetable ourselves; it just sounded like too much fun to pass up, so we bought the seeds and tried it for ourselves.
I did a little research on Kohlrabi and found that this vegetable, since part of the cruciferous family, grows well in cool conditions (meaning it will grow well as an early spring crop) and grows in most areas. I also read that the younger Kohlrabi are sweeter and milder in flavor...if allowed to mature, they can become quite spicy. They require constant moisture (but good drainage) in order to keep them juicy and from becoming "woody".
My newest vegetable trial!
I planted my seeds directly into the ground early this spring (actually May 1st in this area) when I planted my peas, radishes, turnips, lettuce and spinach. I kept them watered and waited for the stems to swell. When the weather began to warm up, they took off. I now have a beautiful crop of Kohlrabi!!

Now that I've successfully grown it, I had to learn just how to use it. I flipped trough different web-sites, cookbooks, and magazines to try to find out some different ways to use Kohlrabi. I finally stumbled across this recipe and decided to give it a go! It was so good, I wanted to share it...

Cabbage-Kohlrabi Slaw
( Food Network Magazine,  July/August 2012)

Peel 1 medium Kohlrabi and cut into matchsticks. Whisk the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/4 cup chopped dill, 1/2 clove minced garlic, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper in a bowl; whisk in 3 TBS olive oil. Toss with the Kohlrabi, 1/4 head shredded cabbage, and salt and pepper to taste.

I found it to be unlike anything I have eaten recently. The sweetness of the kohlrabi is perfectly balanced by the spicy cabbage and slightly sour lemon juice. The more I ate, the more I craved it. I really enjoyed did Cam!!

After this trial run, we have decided Kohlrabi will be a constant in our future gardens!

Hope you enjoy!

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