but it's definitely one you should know about!
Which is why it's the June Superfood of the Month!
Kohlrabi is definitely one of those "don't knock it until you try it" foods!
Several months ago, we were doing a cooking demo for a group of business leaders. We were keeping it simple by sautéing some fresh vegetables, which were marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and then topped them with fresh herbs. To make it a little more interesting (and, of course, to nudge people out of the box), we included some kohlrabi in the vegetable mix. The most popular question was “what is that crunchy thing?” When we explained it was kohlrabi, the most common response was “Wow, I have never had kohlrabi before…I really like it!”
Then, just two weeks ago, we were doing a demo for herb day at the farmers' market...featuring homemade basil pesto. We grabbed some kohlrabi, cut it up, and used it for dipping with the pesto (which was absolutely delicious!) and the most asked questions were..."what is that...it's really good!"..."what do you do with it?"...and "where can I get one?!"
What is a kohlrabi?
In the 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden, kohlrabi is described as a "cross between an octopus and a space capsule.” Sounds like something you want to rush out and get, right?!
Kohlrabi actually comes from the cabbage family and is one of our favorite "strange vegetables!" It's grown above ground…it is not a root vegetable, and the edible bulb is actually part of the stem.
It is a cool-season crop, so you may not find it at farmers’ markets in the summer in regions where the summer heat affects its growth. But it grows well in the spring and fall…and year-round in cooler climates.
How do you pick it and eat it?
When picking a kohlrabi, you want it to be firm, not soft or squishy. The bulb is the part people typically eat, although you can also cook the greens. Kohlrabi is found in white, pale green and purple and doesn't need to be peeled; however, large kohlrabi can have a tough and bitter outside layer, so unless you find smaller kohlrabi, you probably want to peel it before eating.
While it may be tempting to buy the largest kohlrabi of the bunch, the smaller ones will be much more tender, crisp and juicy. The inside is white and has a crunch, similar to an apple. You can peel it with a vegetable peeler, but a small paring knife works just as well. Kohlrabi will keep in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for at least a week or more.
Why you should respect the bulb!
One of the best reasons to include kohlrabi in your routine is...it's a cruciferous veggie! This means it's filled with antioxidants and extra cancer fighting nutrients! You might hear someone describe kohlrabi as a mild radish or turnip, but we think it tastes more like a combination of a water chestnut and an apple. Our favorite description comes from a farmer who once told us..."kohlrabi is the poor man's water chestnut."
What can you do with kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is excellent raw…in salads or to use with your favorite dip or hummus...or cooked into some fantastic meals. Here are just a few delicious ideas…you can even transform kohlrabi into fries!
Take the Superfood Challenge and try it a variety of ways...raw or cooked -- you can even impress your friends and family and help them discover something they might not have otherwise tried!
We would love to know if you like kohlrabi as much as we do…and what are your favorite ways to prepare and enjoy this alien-looking veggie?
Remember, it's what's on the inside that counts!