Kohlrabi looks more like a root vegetable, and is grown primarily for its bulbous stalk rather than its leaves. This seems to be validated by its name, rabi, which means turnip in German. However, it comes as quite a surprise to realize that it grows above ground and is in fact a member of the cabbage family. Long, leafy tentacles sprout from pale green or purple bulbs that can range in size from golf ball to baseball. Although this exotic vegetable is still being discovered by North Americans, it is as common as cabbage in Europe, Israel, and South East Asia.
The colour of kohlrabi is green-white or purple with blue green leaves and tastes like a turnip with a hint of radish without the bite. It is fairly juicy with a nice crunch and ends with a mild pleasant yet addictive flavour. It is eaten both raw and cooked. When cooked, it has a texture similar to broccoli. If cooked, the leaves taste similar to kale or spinach.
HOW TO CHOOSE
You can find kohlrabi available from late May through November, although its peak season is in early summer. The tops may be removed, but keep your eye out for bulbs with their deep green leafy greens still attached, as you can use the leaves as a garnish or add them to soups and stews. Avoid any leaves with browning or yellowing leaves.
Regardless, choose small bulbs that feel firm and heavy. The small size will be more tender, unless you wish to stuff and bake them, in which case go for the larger variety. The bulb should have a smooth, unblemished skin, with no visible cracks or fibres
Store unwashed kohlrabi bulbs, refrigerated and wrapped in plastic or in a plastic bag, for up to 1 week. If you brought it home with leaves, cut them off store leaves covered and refrigerated a few days.
Wash kohlrabi bulb just before using. Peel it and cut in 1/4-inch (0.6cm) slices.
To prepare the leaves, wash them and remove the middle stems. Although they are edible, most often they are trimmed off and discarded before they get to the produce market.
Like Beets, the root and the leaves are edible.
Bulb: Juice or eat the peeled bulbs raw. In fact, they would be a great addition to a vegetable platter or a salad. Then again, Kohlrabi can be cooked like a turnip. Sauté in your preference of butter or olive oil, steam them, or steam, boil and mash like potatoes.
Leaves: Prepare just like spinach or chard: sauté or steam (cover and simmer until tender). Another tasty idea is to add these greens raw in salads.
As a cruciferous vegetable, we should make sure to include a variety of these vegetables (at least three) each week. They help our bodies fight cancer and are nutrient dense. Vitamin C, present in fruits and vegetables, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. This anti-inflammatory activity may lessen the development of asthma symptoms.
Kohlrabi (raw), 1 cup (140g)
Total Fat: 0.13g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin C (84mg)
*Good source of: Potassium (472mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
The Joys of Juicing
- Fresh juices are a tremendous source of enzymes. In contrast, the enzymes of foods cooked at temperatures above 114 degrees are destroyed by the heat. Juicing is carried out with raw fruits and vegetables, the enzymes are still plentiful when you drink the juice. This is important news, since many currently researched phytochemicals are either enzymes, or more often, they are substances that help build or trigger enzymes that play crucial roles in protecting cells from damage.
- Many nutrients are trapped in the fibre of fruits and vegetables that are eaten whole. Whereas, juicing removes the indigestible fibre and avails nutrients to the body in much larger quantities.With more than 65% of most of the cells in the human body are made of water, fruits and vegetables replenish our bodies with this essential substance, water, to maintain good health.