If you have never tried eating a Kohl Rabi, you are in for a treat. Unlike a turnip, the "globe" that you eat develops on top of the soil. This makes them resistant to maggot damage. They have a very mild, turnip-cabbage taste. Because of their mild flavor, many kids love them. This popular European vegetable is gaining popularity here in the U.S.
Like most brassica or cole crops, kohl rabi grow best in cool weather. Little growth occurs above about 75F and they tend to become woody and fibrous. Plant in early spring for a summer harvest and again in late summer for fall and winter harvests.
Plant seeds about 1/4 inch deep in rows two feet apart. Thin plants to four inches apart in the row. Kohl Rabi requires fertile soil and ample soil moisture for best results.
According to the USDA nutritional data, they are a good source of vitamin C and potassium and are low in both sodium and calories. One cup of diced and cooked kohlrabi contains 140% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C and only 40 calories.
To prepare Kohl Rabi you must first remove the stems and leaves by either cutting or pulling them off. The leaves are mild in flavor and can be added to a salad as a green.
Next, peel the outer skin and remove the root end as it tends to be tough.
Personally,I love to eat Kohl Rabi freshly peeled and raw. Some of our family like them with a little salt or cut into julienne and dipped into ranch dressing. They also can be diced or grated into tossed salads or grated and made into a slaw. Kohl Rabi make a great snack in a bag lunch.
Along with eating them raw, Kohl Rabi can be cooked in many ways. They can be diced and steamed, along with the leaves. You also might want to try cubing, marinating in a little olive oil and your favorite seasonings, wrapping in foil, and grilling for ten minutes or so on the barbeque. Kohl Rabi also stir fry well.
Kohl Rabi will store very well fresh for weeks in sealed plastic bags in the crisper section of your refrigerator.
They can also be frozen. Select small to medium bulbs, wash, peel, and either leave whole, or dice in 1/2 inch cubes. Water blanch whole Kohl Rabi for three minutes and cubes for one minute.
Cool quickly in cold water, drain and package in freezer weight plastic bags leaving 1/2 inch of head-space. Seal, label and freeze.
There are many different horticultural forms (or races) of the species, Brassica oleracea. These include cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and Kohl Rabi. They all had wild cabbage as a parent.
"Kohl Rabi" is a word adopted from the German language where kohl means cabbage and rbe or rabi meaning turnip. It apparently was developed in northern Europe shortly before the 16th century.
The first published description was made by a botanist in 1554 and by the end of the 16th century it was known in Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Tripoli, and the eastern Mediterranean. It was cultivated in larger scale in Ireland by the 1730s, England by the 1830s and records of cultivation in the United States dates back to the early 1800s.
Kohl Rabi is a biennial requiring part of two growing seasons, with wintertime in between, if you are intent on producing and saving seed.