Kohlrabi translates to “cabbage-turnip”. It resembles a root, but it is actually a swollen stem that grows on the surface of the soil. It is reminiscent of broccoli stem in flavor and texture, with slightly more crunch and a touch more sweet. According to Allen Davidson in the Oxford Companion to Food, the origins of kohlrabi are a mystery. The “first reliable evidence shows it to have been grown in France in the 14th Century” (Davidson 438). Today it is popular in Germany, central Europe, and among some parts of Asia and the Middle East, and Loma Farm. Deborah Madison writes that “it is also much appreciated in India and China, where it is included in a spicy stew with cumin and chiles or stir-fried with garlic and soy” (Madison, Vegetable Literacy, 168). The bulb is the primary eaten anatomy of kohlrabi, but the leaves are also edible and are much like collard greens though a little less substantial. It can be cooked in stir-fry, soup, stew, or simply steamed and served with a bit of salt & butter, the finest in the cupboard. Kohlrabi shines when eaten raw. It is crunchy and sweet and mild and makes a perfect snack for a country ramble or day in the cubicle. It is also nice grated onto a salad or grated and mixed with cabbage for a slaw.
Steamed Kohlrabi Rounds with Lemon and Chives
4 small kolrabies
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp chives
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
Peel and cut the kohlrabi into ¼ inch rounds. Steam the rounds for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Tip them into a bowl and toss with the butter, chives, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I also added a couple cloves of sauteed fresh garlic to the kohlrabi.
Recipe adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy.