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What's the deal with kohlrabi

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What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Chopper on 6/17/2010, 10:41 pm

I know I can do a search on this, but I would like to hear from my fellow gardeners. What is kohlrabi? Any pictures? What do you do with it and what is the taste like? I have only ever seen kohlrabi as a veggie on a list of home gardening plants. I don't ever remember seeing it in the store or ever eating it. Have I led a bizarrely sheltered life?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  plb on 6/18/2010, 4:07 am

You can use google to get images of anything (just click on the Images link in the google main page and enter the search term).
http://www.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&q=kohlrabi&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi

Some people eat it raw; you can make lovely soups with it (I had some kohlrabi soup in a Seattle restaurant once, drizzled with truffle oil, which was possibly the best soup I ever had).

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Megan on 6/18/2010, 7:39 am

@Chopper wrote:I know I can do a search on this, but I would like to hear from my fellow gardeners. What is kohlrabi? Any pictures? What do you do with it and what is the taste like? I have only ever seen kohlrabi as a veggie on a list of home gardening plants. I don't ever remember seeing it in the store or ever eating it. Have I led a bizarrely sheltered life?

Thanks in advance!

Chopper,

I am growing some. I will get you some pictures this afternoon after work. (Though mine do not seem to be growing heads!) It has a flavor similar to turnip, but much milder and to me, a little sweeter. The bulb isn't really a bulb, I don't think. I don't know the botanical name for it but it grows at/above the soil. I knew about it because it was my grandfather's favorite.

Gotta run to work, type at y'all later! Smile

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kohlrabi

Post  ander217 on 6/18/2010, 8:48 am

When I was a kid and my mom made cole slaw, she would take the core of the cabbage that was left, peel it, and we would salt it and eat it. To me, that is the taste and texture of kohlrabi, - or it even reminds me a little of peeled broccoli stems. It's kind of like a cross between turnip and cabbage. The texture is more dense than turnip and it has a "greener" taste.

It comes up as leaves that look like cabbage or broccoli, but the plant grows more up instead of out. As it matures a bulb begins to swell just above ground level. When the bulb reaches maturity - about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter or more if you have really cool weather - pull the entire plant, cut off the roots and leaves, and peel the bulb. Kohlrabi is a cool weather plant best planted in early spring or for a late fall crop. If you leave it in the ground too long in hot weather, the bulb can get fibrous and woody.

Some people cook the smaller leaves but I've never tried that. You can slice it, dice it, or cut it into long strips. You can cook it like turnips, but my favorite way to eat it is raw with a sprinkle of salt. It makes a great dipper for hummus, too.

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So glad you started this thread!

Post  jenjehle on 6/18/2010, 10:40 am

Chopper,


Thanks for starting this thread! I've had similar questions about kohlrabi. I had never seen/heard of it until I started gardening.


I will throw in a few questions here if you don't mind:

-Is it a cool season veggie? Something I can't grow in the heat of summer?
-Should it be grown similar to a cabbage or broccoli? Or could it be grown in summer if partially shaded by larger plants? I'd love to try it too and I"m kinda impatient. Would like to start some by seed soon-mid June.

Again, thanks to the "experts" for chiming in with some answers here!

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  silverbug on 6/18/2010, 2:35 pm

Delicious, light green, round, can be woody, but when it's not, it's sweet and crisp and tastes great raw with a little salt....good in salads. It's good cooked soft with butter. It's just GOOD.

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Chopper on 6/18/2010, 2:55 pm

Wow. Excellent feedback. I may include it in the fall garden. Thanks!! Looking forward to those pictures Megan.

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Megan on 6/18/2010, 6:27 pm

From what I have read it prefers to be a cool weather plant... spring or fall.

I am growing purple kohlrabi. Green kohlrabi is more common. The flesh of the purple is supposed to be white according to Baker Creek. I remember the interiors of the green kohlrabi as being pale green but I could be mistaken.


Here are my pictures. I started it late in the season which is why I think it is so far behind schedule. One thing I have read is it doesn't like to be transplanted...these are direct-seeded.



I am glad I took these pictures. I hadn't noticed that this one seems to actually be starting to form a head! *happy dance*


This one needed to be thinned.


Here's what it's supposed to look like! Smile http://rareseeds.com/cart/catalog/Kohlrabi-101-1.html

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  miinva on 6/18/2010, 7:00 pm

Here's a great recipe: Kohlrabi & Apple Slaw

I really like the combination of kohlrabi and apple, they complement each other Smile

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Kohlrabi photo

Post  ander217 on 6/18/2010, 7:15 pm

Here's a photo of one of my Early White Vienna kohlrabis grown in Mel's Mix. It's about the size of a golf ball - it hasn't grown very much since the heat and humidity went so high. I've seen them in stores the size of tennis balls. Some of mine haven't even started swelling yet. Last year by this time I had large ones for eating.


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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Megan on 6/18/2010, 7:25 pm

Very nice, Ander!

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Megan's kohlrabis

Post  ander217 on 6/18/2010, 7:29 pm

Same to ya', Megan. Your purple ones are beautiful. I've got to try those next year.

Thanks for posting your photos.

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Megan on 6/18/2010, 7:34 pm

@ander217 wrote:Same to ya', Megan. Your purple ones are beautiful. I've got to try those next year.

Thanks for posting your photos.

Thank YOU. I've got plenty of seed if you'd like some. I am definitely going to replant for a fall crop! I just finished pulling a mess of rapini for dinner and that is going to free up some squares.

(I know you're not supposed to follow brassicas with brassicas, but honestly... does it really make a difference on a square foot basis?)

I tried to pick a lot of my seed for "colorful" veg... in hopes that I might get more of those delightful acanthocyanins and whatever other goodnesses might come my way. My carrot tops are huge but none of them are shouldering; I am dying to dig down a little and see what's going on under there. They are St. Valery's and supposed to be a reddish carrot. Woo-hoo!


Last edited by Megan on 6/18/2010, 7:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  miinva on 6/18/2010, 7:39 pm

You could always gently burrow your finger down beside one of them Smile

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Megan on 6/18/2010, 7:43 pm

Yes, I've thought of that and I've done it with other plants, but for some reason I haven't with these guys. Maybe I'm just being silly.

Okay, I just peeked. They are tiny. Magic Eight Ball said it was time to thin them, so we get micro-carrots for dinner! Can carrot tops be eaten??

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Chopper on 6/18/2010, 9:32 pm

Great information everyone! I wonder if it similar at all to celeriac (celery root)? I wanted to grow that but couldn't find any. There is a very refreshing traditional French salad with celeriac. I wonder if kohlrabi would be a good substitute.

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  miinva on 6/18/2010, 9:34 pm

I think they're similar in texture. Celeriac tastes a bit like celery while kohlrabi is a little more 'green', but I bet that would be a good substitution. Care to share the recipe? Smile

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Chopper on 6/18/2010, 9:37 pm

@Megan wrote:

(I know you're not supposed to follow brassicas with brassicas, but honestly... does it really make a difference on a square foot basis?)

I think the big concern with brassicias is club root. You will know if that is a problem or not when you pull up your current batch.

Chopper

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Megan on 6/18/2010, 9:40 pm

I have to disagree on that one. To me, celeriac is tougher/more fibrous than kohlrabi and tastes nothing like it, though outwardly it might look similar after it's been peeled and chopped up. That being said, that might just be my experience with the plants at various stages of maturity, and you could probably cook it the same way, just don't expect a similar taste.

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Megan on 6/18/2010, 9:42 pm

@Chopper wrote:
@Megan wrote:

(I know you're not supposed to follow brassicas with brassicas, but honestly... does it really make a difference on a square foot basis?)

I think the big concern with brassicias is club root. You will know if that is a problem or not when you pull up your current batch.

I don't know what club foot is, but... can viruses/pests be curtailed to a single square foot and not to the one next door?? That is one of the things which has puzzled me about SFG. I understand the concept of crop rotation and it makes total sense on a large scale, just trying to grok how it translates into SFG. If it does.


Last edited by Megan on 6/18/2010, 9:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Chopper on 6/18/2010, 9:43 pm

Excellent - thanks for the feedback on the infamous celerian/kohlrabi controversy. I think it gives me a better idea of what to expect from the kohlrabi. I can't wait to plant some.

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Megan on 6/18/2010, 9:45 pm

Chopper, you should be able to find some in a local grocery store. I lived in SoCal for a while (Pasadena and thereabouts), that was my introduction to so very many veggies! Give it a try, I bet you will like it.

Oh! You can stuff these guys, too.

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Wyldflower on 6/18/2010, 9:53 pm

MMMM Kohl rabi!!! I think it tastes mostly like the core of cabbage - only better. It's important not to let them mature too much, or they get woody. .... I like it diced and roasted with root veggies (1/2" dice on everything)... Kohl rabi, parsnip, turnip, potato, onion and carrot... toss with olive oil and a little bit of coarse salt and ground pepper, put it on a baking sheet at about 350 for about 20-30 min, while roasting a chicken .... ohhhh yum!

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  Chopper on 6/18/2010, 10:14 pm

My guess about pests and diseases is that ultimately they couldn't be kept to one square. But if you are planting a variety of items, it may seem that way because pests and diseases are somewhat picky about their preferences.

And club foot is a fungus that makes the roots big and swollen, hurting the plant's ability to feed. It is something that is easy to spot visibly once you see the roots.

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Re: What's the deal with kohlrabi

Post  miinva on 6/18/2010, 10:33 pm

My experience with celeriac is with farmer's market celeriac that wasn't as big and ugly as what I've seen at Whole Foods, so maybe that made a difference.

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