Kohlrabi gets its name from the German "kohl" for cabbage and the Latin "rapa" for turnip. It looks like a root, but it's actually a tuber and cruciferous like cabbage, kale, cauliflower and broccoli.
The bulbs are about the size of an orange and come in pale green and purple varieties. Young green bulbs have a radish-cucumber flavor and young purple bulbs tend to have a spicier flavor. The leaves, which taste like kale, collards or cabbage, can be steamed, boiled or added to soups. Kohlrabi is available year-round with peak season in June and July.
If the leaves are still attached, cut them from the bulbs and refrigerate separately in plastic bags. Kohlrabi bulbs will keep up to a week or more and the leaves for several days.
To prepare, wash, cut off top and bottom and peel, removing any obvious fibers. Grate, cube or thinly slice and eat raw, boiled or steamed, or in soups or stews.
An Eastern European Favorite
Kohlrabi grows in many Eastern European home gardens along with beets, potatoes, carrots, parsnips and cabbage which do well in a cold climate and can be stored all year long. Kohlrabi is a prince within the cabbage clan. Its greatest weakness is that it's little known and rarely grown. But cooks who know kohlrabi prize it for the bulblike stem portion that forms at the soil line, as well as the large, thick leaves that grow from the bulbs. Its progress west is likely to persist, as Americans continue to expand their palates and their gardens. Kohlrabi's flavor is milder than either broccoli or cabbage.Recipes Using Kohlrabi Include: