This alien-looking member of the brassica family (alongside cabbage, broccoli, kale, etc.) is extremely popular in Germany and north-eastern Europe, Cyprus, India, Kashmir, and Vietnam. It has a mild, sweet taste and can be eaten both raw and cooked. Although both green and purple cultivars are available, there are no significant differences between them beyond that. The inside of any kohlrabi is light greenish-yellow in colour and both green and purple kohlrabies taste the same.
- Kohlrabi Trivia
- Kohlrabi Nutrition Benefits
- What is the best way to store kohlrabi?
- Can you freeze raw kohlrabi?
- How to prepare kohlrabi
- What can you make with kohlrabi?
- Although the name “kohlrabi” means “turnip cabbage”, kohlrabies are not actually related to turnips.
- Kohlrabi isn’t a root vegetable, either. The bulbous part that looks like a root is actually the plants swollen stem that grows above ground.
- The first mention of kohlrabi in European literature was in 1554, when it first arrived in Italy.
- The kohlrabi cultivar popular in Kashmir is grown for its leaves, which are eaten similarly to collard greens. It has a very thin stem.
Like other members of the brassica family, kohlrabi is low in calories, high in fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s rich in vitamin C (one cup of raw kohlrabi provides around 93% of your daily allowance), and also features good quantities of vitamin B6, potassium, manganese and magnesium. It’s also high in various antioxidants and is associated with reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Kohlrabi bulbs will last for several weeks when stored in the drawer inside the fridge. If your kohlrabi came with its leaves attached, remove the leaves and store them separately. They will keep in the fridge for a few days. You can wrap them in a damp paper towel to help them stay fresh a little longer.
Raw kohlrabi bulbs can be easily frozen, so if you’re lucky enough to have more than you can consume within a few weeks, you can peel them, cut them and freeze them in portions, so they’re ready to be cooked later. We recommend blanching them first, as that will help them keep for longer, but they can be frozen without this step. If blanching, one minute in boiling water is enough, before submerging in ice water to stop the cooking process, draining, drying and splitting into portions for freezing. Keep in labelled bags or boxes in the freezer for up to eight months.
Remove the leaves from the stem. If using them, they can be washed and prepared like any other greens. The bulbous stem itself should be peeled. The peel itself is woody, and some kohlrabies will also have a further woody bit inside that also needs to be discarded. The edible part of the bulb is similar in texture to a potato, so is easy to spot. Annoyingly, the odd shape of the kohlrabi makes using a vegetable peeler difficult, if not impossible, so this part is usually done by using a paring knife.
- Kohlrabi is surprisingly versatile. The bulb can be eaten raw, roasted, fried or cooked similarly to root vegetables. It goes well with potatoes, turnips, beetroot, etc.
- It can be shredded or spiralised and added to salad or slaw like (and with) carrots.
- Kohlrabi leaves (also known as kohlrabi greens) are edible and incredibly healthy. They can be prepared similarly to any other greens like in this recipe for sautéed kohlrabi greens or this easy courgette and kohlrabi leaf pasta.
- In Cyprus and Greece, kohlrabi is often eaten raw, sprinkled with salt and lemon, like in this kohlrabi salad recipe.
- Kohlrabi is a great candidate for pickling and preserving in brine, similarly to sauerkraut.
- It can be turned into skinny fries, a healthy rösti like in this vegan recipe, stir fried with other veg or even used in a curry.
See our kohlrabi recipes page for even more ideas of what to do with this wonderful veg.