Bought some kohlrabi from Highmark Farms, at the Leslieville Market on Sunday. I hate to admit it, being a holistic nutritionist and all, but I had never tried kohlrabi before. As I volunteer at the market on Sundays, working with kids to help them develop new tastes, we made salads and kohlrabi was one of the featured vegetables. This gave me the opportunity to try it. You can learn a lot from kids. We sometimes think they won’t try new things, but from my experience at the market, kids are all over new things…especially if someone else likes it too! Yay kids!
Anyway, kohlrabi is one of those vegetables, that when you see it, you wonder, should I be eating this thing or did it just fall from the sky. Kind of an odd looking vegetable. Pretty green or purple colour, but oddly shaped with spiky arms orbiting around it’s center, kind of like a sputnik. It has a bit of a sweetness and tastes like a combination of radish, turnip, and zucchini, and has a nice crunch. The one I purchased was green. I peeled off the outer skin and julienned it, adding it to a salad of mixed greens and other veg. It got me thinking…what else do people do with kohlrabi and where did this vegetable originate.
Here’s what I found out:
Kohlrabi comes from the German, Kohl meaning cabbage and Rabi, turnip. It’s part of the brassica family (which also includes, cabbage, rapini, collard greens and broccoli). Brassicas contain health-promoting phytochemicals such as isothiocyanates, sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol that are said to protect against prostate and colon cancers.
There are several varieties ranging in colour from green to purple, including White Vienna, White Danube, Grand Duke, Purple Vienna and Purple Danube. The purples are superficially purple. The skin is purple, but the flesh is pale yellow.
It tends to be more popular in Europe and is regularly eaten in Kashmir, cooked with the leaves as a spicy main dish, eaten several times a week.
Other popular ways of preparing kohlrabi are as part of a slaw, stewed or diced into soup.
Kohlrabi leaves or tops, like turnip greens, are also very nutritious, abundant in carotenes, vitamin A, vitamin K, minerals, and B-complex vitamins.
The flesh contains small amounts of vitamin A and carotenes.
Kohlrabi is loaded with fiber and packed with Vitamins C, a water soluble vitamin and powerful anti-oxidant (protecting the body from diseases and cancer by scavenging harmful free radicals). Vitamin C is important in the maintenance of health connective tissue, teeth and gums. It also contains glucosinolates. Research indicates that the glucosinolates in kohlrabi, can help ward off the development of cancer.
So do yourself a favour and pick up some kohlrabi the next time you’re at the farmer’s market. You may just find that it becomes a favourite in your daily vegetable selection.
And if you have any favourite recipes for preparing kohlrabi that you’d like to share, please post them!