This is the time of year when, if you're lucky, kohlrabi starts showing up at farmers' markets and in CSA boxes. Wondering what to do with kohlrabi? Here's the short answer: get your hands on as much of it as you can. (Wondering where to find kohlrabi? Local Harvest is a great source for all kinds of locally produced foods.)
Kohlrabi, from the German words kohl (cabbage) and rabi (turnip), is not actually a cabbage or a turnip. Cultivated in Europe since at least the mid 1500's, this cold loving member of the brassica (cabbage) family is low in calories, high in fiber, and a good source of several vitamins and minerals. Although kohlrabi has been grown the U.S. since at least the early 1800's, it still has yet to become very popular.
Sweet and mildly flavored, kohlrabi can be braised, boiled, stuffed, sliced, scalloped, steamed, julienned, roasted, and sautéed. You can grate it into slaw, toss it into salads, slip it into soups and stews, snack on it raw with dip, and stir-fry it. You can even wrap it in foil and grill it.
I've seen recipes where kohlrabi was covered in cream, sautéed with anchovies, stuffed into empanadas, fried into cakes, served with hollandaise sauce, and turned into a cinnamon brunch bake. This vegetable is versatile.
Unfortunately all of these cooks are wasting their time—and their kohlrabi. For in my opinion, the only thing you should ever be doing with kohlrabi is turning it into purée. Trust me.
This simple kohlrabi purée makes use of both the bulbs and the leaves, though if you don't have any kohlrabi leaves, I'm thinking you could probably substitute some kale instead. It's adapted from The New Basics (one of my very favorite cookbooks), and has been one of my most popular recipes since I posted it back in 2007.
Kohlrabi purée, which has a consistency similar to mashed potatoes (and makes a good low carb substitute), isn't very pretty, but this is actually good news because that means you can skip serving it to guests and gobble it all up yourself. I can't stop eating the stuff.
Unfortunately kohlrabi hasn't found its way to rural Missouri, possibly because this cool season vegetable doesn't care for our drastic late winter and early spring temperature fluctuations. I've sown kohlrabi seeds in my kitchen garden many times during the last 17 years, and I've only ended up with a few harvests. You can read more about my experiences growing kohlrabi (with other gardeners chiming in in the comments section) here.
I definitely haven't given up on growing kohlrabi, though. It's the only way I'll be able to make more purée.
Do you have a favorite way to cook or eat kohlrabi? Do you grow kohlrabi in your garden?
© FarmgirlFare.com, crunchy in the garden, smooth in the kitchen—and ever hopeful for another bountiful harvest.