Kohlrabi

July 16, 2014

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabis are also known as German turnip or turnip cabbage. Both are excellent names; they give clues to exactly how this vegetable should be cooked. Plus, the practicality of the German language is incredible: kohl mean cabbage, and rabi means turnip. Both the swollen stem [above] and the leaves are edible, though the latter is often too bitter to be enjoyed raw.

Kohlrabi is a touch rare on U.S. American plates. In Europe though, it is widely enjoyed. Since its domestication in the 16th century, kohlrabi has since been planted in Germany, Spain, Tripoli, Italy, and the eastern Mediterranean. Its parent plant is a hardy cabbage relative, and kohlrabi easily grows in cold climates. English-speaking locales like Ireland, England, and the United States came to acquire the vegetable around 1800. Kohlrabi has never been popular in the United States, but it is making a resurgence today.

Illustrated here is the white variety. A purple variety exists as well.

This kohlrabi arrived with a bunch of organic produce packaged in a CSA box from Johnson’s Backyard Garden in Austin, TX.  “Community Supported Agriculture” boxes are a great way to encounter rarely purchased vegetables.

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