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What is a kohlrabi?

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Old 07-17-2006, 08:26 PM   #1
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Default What is a kohlrabi?

I found a wonderful looking recipe called Kohlrabi and Carrot Bake. But I have no idea what a kohlrabi is. It's a vegetarian dish, so I'm assuming it's obviously a vegetable, but I was wondering what they were similar to and what they tasted like.

I've also never seen them in the store
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Old 07-17-2006, 08:31 PM   #2
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Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group) is a low, stout cultivar of the cabbage which has been selected for its swollen, nearly spherical, Sputnik-like shape. The name comes from the German kohl (cabbage) plus rabi (turnip), because the swollen stem resembles the latter. Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem growth, its origin in nature is the wild mustard plant.

The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet. Except for the Gigante cultivar, spring-grown kohlrabi much over 5 cm in size tend to be woody, as do fall-grown kohlrabi much over perhaps 10 cm in size; the Gigante cultivar can achieve great size while remaining of good eating quality.

There are several varieties commonly available, including White Vienna, Purple Vienna, Grand Duke, Gigante (aka "Superschmeltz"), Purple Danube, and White Danube. Coloration of the purple types is superficial: the edible parts are all pale yellow.

Hamburg Township, Michigan has titled itself the "Kohlrabi Capital of the World" and at one time had a kohlrabi festival which drew 600 people at its peak in 1985 [1]

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Old 07-17-2006, 08:46 PM   #3
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Mmmmm, those sound wonderful.

Thank you so much for the info!
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Old 07-17-2006, 08:47 PM   #4
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It looks interesting! I've never tried it, though I have seen it in the supermarket.

Maybe we should all give it a try
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Old 07-17-2006, 08:51 PM   #5
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I love kohrabi. We grew them when I was a kid, and ate them raw, sliced with a little salt, or cubed in vegetable soup (they have a nice crisp texture raw, and a smooth creamy texture cooked).

I also shred them and make a coleslaw out of them.

If you can't find them in your grocery store (usually by the beets and turnips), check asian markets and farmer's markets in your area. You can use turnip or rutabaga, but they're stronger in flavor, so it's definitely worth trying to find the kohlrabi if you can.

I've always seen only the green ones (sort of cabbage green, about the size of a small turnip, with lots of greens attached like a turnip), but this month I found and bought some of the purple ones at a farmers market. Taste was exactly the same, and since you usually peel them anyway, the color wasn't any different in the finished dish.
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Old 07-18-2006, 11:11 AM   #6
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I'd like to try them but I'm a NON-fan of turnips. So it's a good thing they taste differently.

We only have one Asian market in our area and - well, let's just put it this way - I wouldn't go in there to buy FROZEN food, let alone fresh. So that's out
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Old 07-18-2006, 10:07 PM   #7
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If you can find them in a farmer's market, they'll taste better than the grocery store. If your town has alot of home gardeners you may also consider placing an ad or seeing if there's a freecycle group in your area (a yahoo group where people post stuff they're giving away, or things they're looking for). You'll find more people with extra zucchini than kohlrabi, but it's still common to find people with garden surplus they're willing to share.
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Old 07-19-2006, 01:11 AM   #8
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We grew them for years, but I'm not crazy about them. My DH loves them raw, but if you let them get too big they get very tough and woody. The purple ones are prettier, but as Colleen noted, there's no difference in the taste. They are in the same family as cabbage, broccoli, etc. and so subject to the same pests. We have a lot of trouble with root maggots here. So much so that this year we grew none of these veggies, hoping to wipe the pest out of our soil. We'll be visiting the U-Pick farm later in the season.
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Old 07-19-2006, 01:51 AM   #9
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I forgot to mention woodiness. While I love good kohlrabi, crisp and moist, the woody dry ones are awful. That's another reason to try to get them as young and fresh as possible, because you can't really tell if it's woody until you try to cut into it (the peel will be a little tough, but if the kohlrabi itself is hard to cut, or you can see it has sort of a grainy coloration, instead of a solid creamy color - it's going to be tough and dry, and a bit bitter, blech).
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Old 07-19-2006, 11:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaplods
If you can find them in a farmer's market, they'll taste better than the grocery store. If your town has alot of home gardeners you may also consider placing an ad or seeing if there's a freecycle group in your area (a yahoo group where people post stuff they're giving away, or things they're looking for). You'll find more people with extra zucchini than kohlrabi, but it's still common to find people with garden surplus they're willing to share.
Yep, we've got little farmers markets all over the place out here. That's why I love it, every summer I look forward to the farm markets. Just went the other day up the road to get some tomatoes (I have 13 tomato plants but none of my tomatoes are ripe yet) zucchini and their fresh sweet corn.
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Old 07-19-2006, 01:54 PM   #11
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We just got back from our farmer's market today.

Mmm. Ranier cherries (my favorite fruit, followed closely by watermelon).
Green onions
cilantro
yellow summer squash
tiny red potatoes
fresh green beans
sweet asian eggplant (a gift from the Hmong lady we got the potatoes from)
peaches (a gift from the man we bought the cherries from)
snap peas

Then we went to the downtown organic grocery, owned by an organic farmer. We bought fresh ground horseradish, fresh purple garlic, and homemade salsa.

We also bought fresh white fish, and a tiny bit of smoked fish.

We're learning to buy groceries for just a few days at a time so we can eat really fresh. The farmer's market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays. Everything looked so good, I have to keep in mind how fast we can eat it, even at five servings a day. I love summer.
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Old 07-19-2006, 03:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaplods
We just got back from our farmer's market today.

Mmm. Ranier cherries (my favorite fruit, followed closely by watermelon).
Green onions
cilantro
yellow summer squash
tiny red potatoes
fresh green beans
sweet asian eggplant (a gift from the Hmong lady we got the potatoes from)
peaches (a gift from the man we bought the cherries from)
snap peas

Then we went to the downtown organic grocery, owned by an organic farmer. We bought fresh ground horseradish, fresh purple garlic, and homemade salsa.

We also bought fresh white fish, and a tiny bit of smoked fish.

We're learning to buy groceries for just a few days at a time so we can eat really fresh. The farmer's market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays. Everything looked so good, I have to keep in mind how fast we can eat it, even at five servings a day. I love summer.
Can I come to your house for dinner?

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Old 07-19-2006, 03:23 PM   #13
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Got your mouth watering did I? Oh, and I forgot fresh currants. They're so tart and fresh tasting, I was thinking of pureeing them with a little green onion and cilantro to use on a chicken sandwhich instead of mayo.

I could eat summer fruits and veggies and nothing else, if my stomache let me. I've often had meals of just sweetcorn sprayed with butter spray.
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Old 07-19-2006, 04:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaplods
Got your mouth watering did I?
Yep, I'll take grilled fish and eggplant sprinkled with cilantro, please. And the cherries for dessert.

lol

Sounds great
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Old 07-19-2006, 06:41 PM   #15
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I might have to fight you for the cherries. They're only in season for like three weeks every summer, and I buy as much as I can afford (and eat). Funny thing is, I really don't care for bing cherries all that much (which come in season right after the ranier). My husband doesn't like them at all, so there All mine [insert diabolical laugh here]

Unfortunately, I should find opportunities to share - or at least ration myself slowly. I end up using most of my WW points/calories for cherries, sweet corn, watermelon and such in the summer. It isn't hard to stay within my point/calorie target, but it is hard to stay out of the bathroom [T-M-I - I know, but once it's out of my mouth (fingers?) I just sort of leave it out there. It's kind of my trademark, I guess --- Doesn't she say the damndest things?]




(These are supposed to be cherries - you know because the ranier cherries are yellow and red - ok lame - but you can't say I didn't share them)
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