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WHAT IS KOHLRABI?
Feared most among CSA subscribers is the innocent kohlrabi. This totally alien looking vegetable is completely under utilized and desperately needs a marketing campaign to bolster its brand recognition. Admittedly, kohlrabi is confusing – it looks like a root but isn’t and appears fibrous and tough but its not. Let’s put all the confusion to rest! Kohlrabi is a member of the brassica family and like broccoli, it is entirely edible from leafy green to bottom. The texture is similar to jicama or radish and has an amazing crunch like none other. The bulbous bottom has a flavour similar to sweet cabbage and the stem and leaves taste rather kale-like.
HOW TO BUY + STORE KOHLRABI
Kohlrabi is found in three variations, green, white and purple, though they taste the same. When purchasing kohlrabi look for firm bottoms that have fresh looking greens attached and are free of brown spotting. The smaller bulbs tend to have more flavour. Kohlrabi stores very well for weeks in the refrigerator if you separate the leaves and stems from the bottom, which should be used within a few days. I use ziploc produce bags to keep my CSA vegetables fresh.
HOW TO USE KOHLRABI
The bulbous bottom of larger kohlrabi has a tough skin that is edible but not altogether pleasant, peeling this tough skin with a good quality peeler or a paring knife does the trick. With smaller, super fresh kohlrabi, it isn’t always necessary to peel the outside. The inside is easily sliced with a knife, mandoline or spiralizer. The stems and greens can be prepared in the same way as any hearty green and can easily substitute for kale or swiss chard.
5 WAYS TO USE KOHLRABI + BONUS RECIPE!
- Slaw! A classic use of kohlrabi – use a mandoline and slice thin sheets of kohlrabi to julienne to substitute for cabbage in any slaw recipe.
- Quick Pickle! Slice kohlrabi into matchsticks and put in a mason jar. Heat a brine of 1 cup white wine vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp crushed chili peppers – remove from heat and pour on top of kohlrabi. Cool to room temperature, put lid on and place in fridge where they will keep for 6 weeks.
- Saute! Saute the greens and stems with olive oil, garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice and top with fresh herbs for a summery side.
- Soup! Kohlrabi makes a great soup says the NYTimes and the greens could easily be substituted for kale in my absolute favourite soup – Ribollita.
- Puree! Sick of cauli-mash? Kohlrabi can be steamed and pureed like potatoes or cauliflower.
- Spiralize! – A bonus method! Kohlrabi spiralizes like a dream. Recipe below!