Crop Spot: Kohlrabi

Crop Spot, Health, Recipes

Kohlrabi doesn’t have to be the strange forgotten vegetable in the bottom of your CSA basket! Give this great veggie a try and let us know what you think. 

In the Garden

Kohlrabi is German for “cabbage turnip” and it’s exactly that: round and green or purple with a sweet and mild take on brassica flavor and a satisfying crunch. A cruciferous vegetable, it is less cold-tolerant than other brassicas like cabbage, turnips, and broccoli. However, kohlrabi is available in Michigan nearly year round, either freshly harvested or from storage varieties. According to some sources, Hamburg Township in Livingston County is the self-titled “Kohlrabi Capital of the World”. 

To harvest this fast-maturing crop in your own garden, start seeds indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost or direct sow 2 weeks weeks prior to the last frost and again in mid-summer. Harvest the entire plant when the bulb-like stem reaches about 3 inches diameter. 

In the Kitchen

The edible part of the kohlrabi is the enlarged, bulb-like stem that grows just above the soil, although the tender leaves of fall Kohlrabi can also be cooked and eaten. Kohlrabi is delicious raw or cooked. Add sliced kohlrabi to salads or sandwiches or try it grilled in a foil pack or sauteed with other seasonal veggies. 

Kohlrabi Slaw with Coriander Vinaigrette

2 kohlrabi, peeled and coarsely grated
2 carrots, coarsely grated 
1 cup red or green cabbage, shredded
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (and/or orange juice)
½ tablespoon dijon mustard
Ground coriander, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste 

Instructions

  1. Prep the vegetables. Add other seasonal veggies to your liking. Toss together in a large bowl and set aside.  
  2. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Adjust to taste. 
  3. Pour vinaigrette over the veggies and toss to coat. Start with less dressing and add more as needed. Adjust seasonings to taste. 
  4. Serve chilled. This recipe stores well in the fridge for 2-3 days. 

In the Medicine Cabinet

Like all of it’s cruciferous cousins, Kohlrabi is a nutrition powerhouse! This veggie is low in calories, high in fiber and Vitamin C, and provides a sprinkling of other important nutrients including potassium, selenium, folate, and magnesium. A little more information about Kohlrabi’s key nutrients:

Vitamin C: An important antioxidant, this vitamin helps combat oxidative stress that can contribute to cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Vitamin C is also important for connective tissue health and helping your body absorb iron. 

½ cup provides 50% of the Recommended Daily Intake

Potassium: This mineral helps regulate fluid and mineral balance, which is important for just about every process in your body, including maintaining healthy blood pressure, kidney function, bone health, muscle contraction, and nerve signaling. 

½ cup provides 15% of the Recommended Daily Intake

Travertine Garcia is the Community Health Intern for SE Michigan with Taste the Local Difference. Contact her at health_intern@localdifference.org

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