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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi:

About:

Kohlrabi, also known as German turnip or turnip cabbage, is an annual vegetable and a low stout cultivar of cabbage.  The name "kohlrabi" come from the German for cabbage turnip.  Its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts.  Kohlrabi may be eaten raw or cooked.  Of kohlrabi's two varieties the purple globe is sweeter and tastier than the apple green one.  Both varieties have a pale green , almost ivory, colored flesh inside.  Kohlrabi's flavor is mild and delicately sweet.  Its texture is crisp and moist.  


History:

Kohlrabi originated in northwest Europe, probably in Germany.  Charlemagne, who was emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 800 A.D. ordered kohlrabi to be grown in lands under his reign.   Kohlrabi was in common use throughout Italy, France, and Germany from Charlemagne's time to the present.  Kohlrabi has been growing in the U.S. since 1806.

Uses:

Kohlrabi is most commonly cooked and added to soups or other recipes.  Kohlrabi root is frequently used raw in salads or slaws.    It has a texture similar to that of broccoli stem but with a flavor that is sweeter.  Kohlrabi leaves are edible and can be used interchangeably with collards and kale.  When using kohlrabi, remove the stems by pulling or cutting them off the globe.  Stems and leaves can be chopped and added in a tossed salad.  If the kohlrabi globe is small, there is no need to peel it, just remove the tough base end.  The larger globes should be peeled and the tough woody base removed before slicing or dicing.  Besides using raw kohlrabi can be cut into bite-sized pieces and steamed for 5-7 minutes, barbecued by slicing or chopping and being tossed with olive oil and salt and wrapped in tin foil and grilled for 10-12 minutes, and stir fried by dicing or chopping into bite-sized pieces and stir frying for 5-7 minutes in olive oil with garlic and salt.

My Story:

Actually, kohlrabi is not very popular in the U.S.  In the supermarket we carried it just to have variety more than because it sold.   One of the signs of fresh kohlrabi is greens that are deep green with no yellowing or wilting.  Well, the greens would not last very long on display.  We would soak them in cold water to keep them hydrated, but even then the yellowing would take over in short order.  We would then cut the leaves and stems off and put the globes in a tray and mark it at a reduced price.  Even then it was a hard sell.  I don't think we even made much money on kohlrabi.

Nutrition:

In a half cup of raw sliced kohlrabi you will find:
  • low in calories (19 calories)
  • high in dietary fiber (2.5 grams)
  • high in potassium (245 grams)
  • vitamin A (25 I.U.)
  • vitamin C (43.4 mg)
  •  folic acid (11.3 mcg)
  • calcium (16.8 mg)

Season:

Although kohlrabi is available all year, the crop peaks in June and July.  Good supplies are available from August through October.

Selecting and Storing:

Select small kohlrabi that is smooth and unblemished and  no larger than 2 1/2 inches in diameter with the greens still attached.  The greens should be deep green all over with no yellowing.   When you get the kohlrabi home,  remove the stems and leaves and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a day or two.  Refrigerate the globes in a separate bag for up to a week.

So......... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.



Kohlrabi Fritters:

1 globe kohlrabi
1 egg
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
oil or butter for frying

Remove any stems or leaves from kohlrabi globe.  Use a vegetable peeler to peel the globe unless it is rather small.  Slice off the woody base. 
Shred the kohlrabi into a bowl.  Add the salt, pepper, egg, and bread crumbs.  Mix well.  Heat oil or butter in a skillet and drop a small mound of the mixture into the oil.  Flatten the mound with the back of a spatula.  Turn after a few minutes.  Fry until both sides are crispy.  Serve and enjoy

                                      
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