Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yes, Kohlrabi Can!

With fewer kohlrabi plants this year, I had the time to make better use of every part of the plant, including the leaves and their (sometimes rather tough) stems that often overwhelmed me last year.  I would generally just chop them up and add them to whatever I was making with kohlrabi that day, but all too often many of them still ended up in the compost heap.  The recipe below makes use of the stems by pickling them similar to how one might pickle asparagus.  Therefore you could use the same process to pickle asparagus or any number of other things.  The process is somewhat labor intensive since I peeled each stem to remove the woody exterior.  These will need to sit in the pantry for a bit longer before I crack open a jar and we really know if it was all worth it.  
-kohlrabi leaf stems, trimmed to jar height and peeled (yes, peeled)
-1/4 c + 1 Tbsp salt
-3 c water
-2 c vinegar (5% acidity)
-2/3 c sugar
-1 tsp mustard seed
-1 tsp peppercorns 
-1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
-1 slice fresh lemon per jar
-1 clove garlic per jar
-1 bay leaf per jar

->Soak kohlrabi stems in 1/4 cup salt and enough water to cover them.  

Meanwhile, heat water, vinegar, tablespoon of salt, sugar, mustard seed and peppers in medium sauce pot until simmering.  

While that heats, put lemon slice, garlic clove and bay leaf in sterilized jars.  Remove kohlrabi stems from salted water and pack in jars.  

When brine is simmering, pour over kohlrabi stems into each jar, being sure to get some of the pickling spices in each jar.  

At this point, you could either have "refrigerator pickles," by putting the jar in, yes, the refrigerator and eating them within two weeks.  Alternatively, you could can them.  For this, make sure the jars are filled to about 1/4 inch from the top, wipe rim clean with a damp rag, and seal with lids and bands.  Process in a hot water bath for 10-15 minutes.  Once cooled to room temperature, be sure lids have sealed by pressing them in the center.  They should not press down or "pop."  Store them in a cool, dark place.  I would give them a couple of weeks before you pop one open to try them out!  
~*TIP:  I also followed the S&P recipe for pickled kohlrabi leaves from last year, but processed them the same as above.  They will be in the pantry ready to use for stuffed "grape" leaves all year long!*~  

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