Kohlrabi- The Vegetable You've Been Missing Out On

Kohlrabi. Even the name of this vegetable sounds funny. Yet, much like the vegetable, itself, it is far from unpleasant. Say it again, "Coal- ROB- ee." It kind of just rolls off the tongue hmm? Originally an Eastern European native, kohrabi arrived on American soils in the early 1800s. Despite its hardiness and versatility, it has received nowhere near the fame and recognition of its close cousins, broccoli and cabbage. And unjustly so. It is mildly sweet and very crisp, with a flavor reminiscent of cabbage, yet the texture of a turnip or radish. I'm not sure how or why this lumpy little beauty has managed to stay in the background all of these years, but I don't think it will be there much longer. With its striking purple and light green hues and its unique shape, its turning heads all over the farmers market at this time of year. Kohlrabi, it seems, is finally poised for its time in the spotlight. If you're wanting to try it out for yourself (And you should!), here's what you need to know:

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1. Closely related to broccoli, cabbage, and ​​brussel sprouts

2. High in dietary fiber, postassium, Vitamins A and C

3. Low in calories and carbohydrates

4. To store, wrap in a damp towel or place in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator

5. To prepare, cut off the fibrous top and roots and trim away the outer skin. See the video.

6. Save the leaves. They can be eaten much like kale (sauteed, chopped in a salad, thrown in a juicer, added to a smoothie)

7. Eat Kohrabi raw, roasted, or steamed.

This past weekend I visited the Downtown Bloomington Farmers Marktet and passed out samples of raw kohlrabi with dip. Every single person who tried a sample remarked on how delicious the veggie was, little kids and elderly couples alike. Now, I can't say I have much experience with kohlrabi myself, but after the overwhelmingly positive response at the farmers market, I have to say I'm excited to add it to my cooking repertoire and can't wait to try out a few recipes. A little Austrian grandmother, excited to see that I was sampling a vegetable that was very popular in her native country, let me in on a secret that kohlrabi is exceptionally tasty in soup, as it doesn't break down like potatoes and starchier root vegetables have a tendency to do. I tend to trust little Austrian grandmothers, so I will be giving this a try soon. I've also heard that kohlrabi slaw is particularly nice on a sunny day, and kohlrabi fitters make a lovely appetizer. The fritters will be first up on my recipe experimentation list. Recipe below!

Shredded Kohlrabi Cakes

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Ingredients: 4 kohlrabi bulbs 1/4C chopped green garlic 2 eggs, beaten 2 Tbsp. bread crumbs 1 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes oil cooking spray Black pepper to taste

Directions: Peel and shred kohlrabi (a mandolin may be needed for this). Squeeze out excess moisture (this can be done by placing the shredded kohlrab in a cheesecloth or dish towel and ringing out the water) and move to mixing bowl. Combine all ingredients except cooking spray; stir until blended. Heat large skillet and coat with cooking spray. Drop mixture by spoonful onto pan and fry until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Recipe source: Barb Bishop, Harmony Valley Farm. From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce. FairShare CSA Coalition, 2004.

Photo Credit: Early Morning Farm

Photo Credit: Society Wellness

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