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All About Kohlrabi

Guide to Buying and Using Kohlrabi


Kohlrabi Greens

Purple Kohlrabi With Greens

Photo © Molly Watson kohlrabi-how-grows.jpg

Kohlrabi In a Garden

Photo © Molly Watson Green Kohlrabi Bulbs

Green Kohlrabi Bulbs

Photo © Molly Watson

Kohlrabi usually means the crispy crunchy bulb with a great flavor that combines the earthy sweetness of cabbage with a bit of the sharp bite and heat of turnips and radishes. Most kohlrabi bulbs are a pale green and sold without their leaves attached, but purple varieties are seen at some markets. They both have a slightly alien-looking quality about them.

How to Buy & Store Kohlrabi

I like to buy kohlrabi at farmers markets where they are often sold with their leaves still attached. There are two reasons for this: first, you know the kohlrabi is fresh; and second, the leaves are delicious and can be used just like kale.

Look for small bulbs of kohlrabi—about 3 inches in diameter or less—for sweeter, more tender flavor. Bulbs this small will taste a lot like peeled broccoli stems. Larger kohlrabi bulbs will develop a sharper, radish-like flavor but tend to be woody; their thick and fibrous peel can be cut off to reveal the tender crunchiness within.

Although I buy kohlrabi with leaves attached whenever possible, they do need to be removed for storage (just like with beets, turnips, or carrots). Cut off the leafy stalks (you can use the leaves as you would kale or collard greens, use them with a few days) and scrub kohlrabi bulbs clean, wrap loosely, and refrigerate until ready to use. Fresh kohlrabi will last up to several weeks in the fridge.

How to Use & Cook Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is delicious raw. Cut into wedges and crunch them for snacks, use with creamy dips, or give them a simple drip or two of soy sauce. Kohlrabi also adds bite and crunch to salads and slaws—slice thinly or shred. This Carrot Kohlrabi Slaw is popular at my house.

Kohlrabi can be chopped and added to soups or stews, or boiled and added to mashed potatoes or other mashed root vegetables.

Kohlrabi is a delightful surprise when roasted: it turns remarkably sweet. Peel the bulbs and cut them into wedges or chunks, toss with a bit of oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast in a hot oven until brown and tender. See a recipe for Roasted Kohlrabi here.

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