Kooky, Krunchy…Kohlrabi

What is that extra-terrestrial looking vegetable growing in my garden?  I had never grown, eaten, or even seen a kohlrabi before a few years ago.  I like planting something new in my garden each year.  A couple of years ago I took the plunge and decided to see how kohlrabi would grow in my Colorado clay soil.

Kohlrabi is a  turnip-looking type vegetable.  It is a cousin to the cabbage and comes in both a white or purple version.  The edible part of a kohlrabi plant is the swollen stem just above the ground. I’ve read that you can also strip the leaves off the woody stem and add it to a salad for some variety in your greens.  Or, you can saute the greens in butter with salt like spinach.

The kohlrabi itself is a great vegetable for storage in a root cellar.  I’ve stored it in my refrigerator for months!

To prepare, cut off the roots, leaves and various spikes poking out.  Peel off the tough skin with a paring knife and slice or chop.  

Kohlrabi has a crispy crunch to it when eaten raw, and is great sliced in salads. You could also shred it thin and add it to your favorite coleslaw recipe.

It is also good chopped, boiled or sauteed until tender and topped with butter and salt.  Mash cooked kohlrabi and serve like mashed potatoes.

Kohlrabi Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and chopped small
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups milk
1 bay leaf
Salt and black pepper

Saute onion in butter in a large lidded pan.  When the onion is clear and soft add the chopped kohlrabi.  Saute 3 to 4 minutes.   Add the chicken stock, milk, bay leaf and pepper. Reduce heat cover and simmer around 20 – 25 minutes or until the kohlrabi is tender.   Remove the bay leaf and let the soup cool a bit.

Place soup in a blender and blend until smooth.  You may want to do this in batches.  If you have an immersion blender (I don’t), you could use that.  Be careful not to splash hot soup on you!

Return your soup to the pan, heat through (if necessary) and it is ready to eat.  Serve with crackers, bread and cheese.

Add things like chopped ham, carrots or celery after you puree the soup. (For a vegetarian version, substitute vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and definitely leave out the chopped ham.)

Kohlrabi is full of potassium and is very good for you.  I’ve read that you should pick when it is about plum size or it will get too woody.  We grow the purple version and it usually gets twice that size before I remember to get it picked…. and I’ve never had a problem.  I’ve even picked it softball size.  Lesson learned; try to pick kohlrabi small, but if it gets big, don’t throw it away.

And by the way, it grows great in Colorado clay soil!

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Mary Walker
12 years ago

I love Kohlrabi! my dad planted it in our garden and my mom used to can it. It’s delicious!

Mary Walker
12 years ago

Oh yeah got the finger lamp my guy loved it! :-)

Kerrie Elizabeth Kaufmann
Kerrie Elizabeth Kaufmann
12 years ago

Kohlarabi is my favorite…my aunt Mabel got me to love it as a kid. I still grow it from time to time. I eat them like an apple. they are great!

Beth Anne Brink-Cox
Beth Anne Brink-Cox
12 years ago

Slice ’em, a little salt…one of my favorite snacks!

Cynthia Pinkham Derme
Cynthia Pinkham Derme
12 years ago

Great shredded with apples raisins celery. Like a sweet crunchy slaw salad. Don’t forget to add chopped walnuts :D

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