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October 25th, 2016

Funky Kohlrabi

by Yael Ben-Chaim

Kohlrabi! You may look at this Dr. Seussian vegetable with curiosity. What is kohlrabi? How do you eat it? How do you cook it? Kohlrabi is in season right now, and is a common find at Maryland markets.

Kohlrabi is in the cabbage family, tastes similar to broccoli, and looks a bit out-of-this-world. Despite its unique look, kohlrabi has great health benefits, can be used in different recipes, or eaten raw. Kohlrabi is a great substitute for cabbages, and tastes delicious in coleslaws, salads, and stir-fries.  When purchased, kohlrabi should be firm and free of any soft spots. Kohlrabi can typically be stored for about five days after purchase, and should be stored in a cool, dry space.

Don’t let kohlrabi’s funky appearance deter you from purchasing this hearty vegetable. Kohlrabi is a vitamin C-laden, flu fighting machine, and is full of potassium. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body maintain connective tissue such as bones and ligaments. Vitamin C helps your body sustain strong bones, assists in blood flow, and promotes healthy skin. While many plants and animals can produce their own vitamin C, humans cannot, and due to this inability to make our own we therefore must consume on average, 46 milligrams of of vitamin C daily.  Potassium is a vitamin that serves as an electrolyte – conducting electricity in the body. This means that potassium helps regulate water balance in the body and is crucial to heart function, by helping heart muscles to contract, relax and stimulate nerve impulses. A lack of potassium in the body can lead to fatigue and muscle weakness.

To prepare kohlrabi, first cut off the stems. If there are leaves on the stem, you can cook them just like kale. Slice the kohlrabi head in half and slice the halves into quarters. Use the tip of your knife to cut the core out of the center of the kohlrabi. When the kohlrabi is in quarters, use a peeler or sharper knife to remove the tough skin.

Note: The kohlrabi skin can be both purple or pale-green, but the inside of all kohlrabi’s is always an off-white color.

Kohlrabi chip recipe from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • Thinly sliced kohlrabi
  • Olive oil
  • Course salt
  • Other seasonings of your choice (garlic powder, pepper, lemon juice, onion powder)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  • Cut stems off of kohlrabi, and cut kohlrabi into thin (potato-chip like) slices.
  • Toss in olive oil, salt and other seasonings
  • Lay out on baking sheet
  • Bake in oven for 35 minutes- one hour (depending on the level of crispiness you want)
About the Author Yael Ben-Chaim

Yael is a food-lover, interested in local food systems and farmers markets. Follow Yael's blog posts on farmer market produce, recipes, and nutrition information. Yael is an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Maryland Farmers Market Association and is developing a seasonal food education program for MDFMA.