Friday, May 7, 2010

Week of Kohlrabi!

Once again this year I have more kohlrabi ready to eat than I know what to do with. Last year I was giving it away, hosting kohlrabi-themed dinner parties (kohlrowdy night), and making whatever I could think of out of it. This year, things are a little more complicated... The crop that is ready now was planted last fall, and most of it is bolting (going to flower) instead of forming the ball at the base of the stem that you normally eat. So really, I have more kohlrabi greens than I know what to do with and a few small swollen stems to eat.  Therefore, this week on Shoots and Platters will be "Week of Kohlrabi" with new kohlrabi recipes appearing almost daily.  But first, a quick primer on kohlrabi...
  • What part do you eat?
    • In the picture above, the part most commonly eaten and the part you would get in the grocery store is the swollen ball at the base of the stem (where all the leaves are coming out).  It will come trimmed of all stems and leaves when you buy it in the store.  This part is normally larger, but, as noted above, mine are not producing as well as hoped.  Luckily Derek and I both have another spring-planted crop coming in a few weeks.
    • You can also eat the leaves and stems, which I generally try to do rather than throwing them on the compost heap.  I highly recommend them.  It's best to strip the leaves from the stems, and then slice and cook the stems longer than the leaves, as they can be a little tougher.  
  • What does it taste like?
    • To me, the stem part tastes like broccoli stems (which are also edible and delicious and shouldn't be thrown out), but maybe sweeter and more tender.  Some people say it tastes like water chestnuts or even apples, but I don't think I'd go quite that far.  
    • The greens are similar in texture and flavor to kale or collards (or broccoli or cauliflower leaves -also edible), and generally pretty mild and tasty.  
  • How do I use it?
    • Of course, this is what the next week of posts is about, so more to come here.  In general, the swollen stem is peeled and eaten in any number of ways, in curries, slaws, salads, you name it!  The leaves can be saut
  • What if I don't have access to Kohlrabi?  Should I just ignore this week?
    • No!  The kohlrabi in these recipes can be substituted in a number of ways if you can't get it (but I do of course encourage you to try to find it and/or grow it).  As noted above, the stem is similar to texture and taste to peeled broccoli stems, so that is a perfect substitute.  The greens can be substituted with kale, collards, chard, whatever you have.
  • Other fun facts about Kohlrabi...
    • Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as broccoli and cabbage...  It's also called a "German Turnip".  The first time I had it was actually in Germany when my friend peeled it, sliced it, and boiled it in bouillon.  Not bad.  It's really easy to grow from seed, but most garden centers by me are carrying it in transplant form in spring and fall these days.  It comes in a purple variety (pictured above) or green.  I'm growing both.  It grows fast and easy and is subject to the same pests as cabbages and broccoli.  
Let the Week of Kohlrabi commence!  

    1 comment:

    1. What if i dont have Kohlrabi...should I skip this funny!
      I am learning so much...thank u!