Every so often I plan on doing an expose on a different foodstuff: what it looks like, how to store it, how to eat it, etc. Kohlrabi is perfect for my first “food file” post as before it arrived in my CSA share I had never even heard of it, let alone laid eyes on it. I immediately began scanning the web for guidance on how to treat my new-found tasty friend.
What is it? Kohlrabi’s name comes from the German words for cabbage and turnip. Its relatives (bred from the same wild cabbage plant-Brassica oleracea) include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and brussels sprouts.
What does it taste like and how do I eat it? Like many of its relatives, kohlrabi can be enjoyed raw or cooked. The bulbous stem, which can be green or purple depending on the variety, has a taste and texture similar to a broccoli stem. I peeled off its tough purple outer layer with a paring knife and sliced it into pieces resembling apple slices. I noted a turnip-y radish-like mildly spicy taste. It works beautifully as a vehicle for dip or hummus. Online there are recommendations to slice, dice, or grate it and add it to salads.
The greens are also edible. I washed, chopped, and blanched mine before freezing them for later enjoyment. I plan to use the greens as I would any other frozen green: tossed with pasta, in egg bakes, soups and stews, or as a side.
How do I store it? If the leaves are still attached to the bulb, trim them and store them separately. If the leaves are still firm and green–they’ll last a few days–they can be cooked and stored like other greens. The bulbs should be stored unwashed in a plastic bag. They’ll hold for a week or two in the refrigerator. Smaller kohlrabi are sweeter and more tender than their larger counterparts. I noted woody tough spots that were nearly impossible to cut through in bulbs bigger than tennis ball size. Cut and peeled kohlrabi turns brownish after a day, storing it sealed, or immersed in water may solve this.