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September 25th, 2017

Kooky Kohlrabi

by Yael Ben-Chaim

Kohlrabi is one of the quirkiest looking vegetables you’ll find at the farmers market. No, it’s not an alien! Kohlrabi is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that is versatile, refreshing, and easy to prepare. Originating in Europe, kohlrabi is a cool-weather crop, available at Maryland farmers markets primarily during the fall and spring months. Kohlrabi is a member of the brassica family, along with cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. Its texture and flavor are a hybrid of a crisp, juicy apple and a mild head of broccoli. Hard to imagine? Give it a try!

Nutrition:

One cup of kohlrabi contains 93% of the Daily Recommended Allowance of vitamin C for men and 116% percent of the Daily Recommended Allowance of vitamin C for women. Vitamin C is promotes wound healing and maintains healthy bone and tissue structure in the body.

Selection:

The kohlrabi bulb comes in a variety of colors and sizes! Kohlrabi can be green, purple, or off-white. Smaller bulbs are sweeter and more tender. At farmers markets, it may be sold with its edible greens attached or removed. Avoid kohlrabi bulbs that are bruised or soft. The kohlrabi bulb is encased in a thick layer of skin that should be peeled before eating.

Storage:

Kohlrabi can last for about three weeks in refrigerator. Before storing, remove the leaves and store separately. Want kohlrabi in the off season? Blanch and freeze a batch from market and enjoy later.

To Blanch:

Wash, peel and cube kohlrabi into desirable size.

Boil kohlrabi for three and a half minutes.

Place kohlrabi in ice bath for three and a half minutes.

Drain and dry kohlrabi.

Place in freezer-safe bag for up to a year.

 

Pairing and Preparation:

For tips on how to peel, cut, and manage kohlrabi’s tough exterior, check of these time-saving tips from The Kitchn. Kohlrabi has a mild and crisp taste. Kohlrabi bulbs can be sliced and eaten raw or in tossed in a salad; grated and folded into a slaw; sautéed with olive oil; or roasted. It’s delicious in a stir fry, taking on the seasonings and spices of the dish beautifully. Kohlrabi leaves can be prepared as you would collards greens.

Recipe:

Kohlrabi Fritters from Full Belly Farm

INGREDIENTS

2 medium-sized or 1 large kohlrabi
1 carrot
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil

Yogurt or sour cream (optional condiment)

METHOD

Cut the leaves off the kohlrabi and peel the bulb. Shred the carrot and the kohlrabi in a food processor or with a grater.

Squeeze the shredded vegetables in a tea cloth (or with your hands) to remove the moisture, then combine in a bowl with the egg, salt, and cayenne.

Place the oil in a skillet (about 1/4-inch depth).  Heat the oil over medium high heat, then place small patties of the fritter mixture into the oil.

Fry on one side until browned, then fry on the other side. Remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil.

Drizzle with yogurt or sour cream, if using.

Photo credit: Yuri Huta

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.