Friday, June 3, 2011

The Wonderful World of Kohlrabi

That's a little tongue-in-cheek there, since I definitely don't know all there is to know about kohlrabi myself, but I'm learning.

Kohlrabi, sometimes called a cabbage turnip or German turnip is indeed part of the cabbage family.  The stem swells to a bulb-like shape and is often considered the "main event", although the greens and stalks are edible as well.  There are purple and green varieties, but as far as I can tell, the flavor is about the same.  In my opinion, they taste a little more cabbage-y than turnip-y.

We planted a few kohlrabi plants this year, and here are some of the things I've done with them:

Grilled Kohlrabi Slices

For this recipe I used the bulbous stem.  I peeled the tougher outer skin away (you wouldn't have to if you picked them very young), sliced it and placed the slices on non-stick foil.  I drizzled the slices with olive oil and sprinkled them with coarse sea salt and black pepper, then sealed the foil into packets.  The packets went on the grill for 10 to 15 minutes while we were grilling venison steaks.  Once done and plated, we drizzled the slices with a little balsamic vinegar and they were delicious.

Kohlrabi Stalk Slaw

I took the stalks from the kohlrabi I grilled above and broke them into pieces about three inches long, then placed those in the food processor with the chopping blade in place.  I added about a cup of water to the bowl as well.  The water keeps the vegetables swirling and chopping instead of sticking to the sides. 

I gave it a quick whirl until the stalks were finely chopped, then strained all through a small colander. (This is the same method I use to make cabbage slaw and it works so much better than using a hand shredder, I think.) 

I drained the stalks well and dressed them with a mixture of mayo, raw honey, vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  I didn't measure anything, I just guessed at it all.  I stirred the dressing into the slaw, making sure to keep it fairly dry since I know the juices from the veggies will seep out over time.  In the end, this slaw tasted nearly identical to slaw made with cabbage.

Kohlrabi Chips

To make kohlrabi chips, the greens, or tops, come into play.  After washing the large leaves, I blotted them dry and cut some into strips.  I laid those strips on baking sheets lined with silicone mats (you can use parchment instead) and sprayed them with peanut oil.  I used peanut oil because it's what's in my spray bottle, but I  know a lot of people make these chips using olive oil sprayed or brushed onto the greens.  Then I just sprinkled them with some seasoning. 

I made three trays of these and seasoned each differently:  one had garlic pepper seasoning, one had some rib rub (similar to the seasoning on barbecue potato chips) and one had just coarse sea salt.  Kat didn't want to try these, so I ended up eating all of all three flavors!  Hey, they shrink down a lot, so it wasn't like I stuffed myself.  Of the three flavors, I thought the plain sea salt was the best.  I really enjoyed these and will make them again, either with kohlrabi or with other hearty greens.

Let's not forget simply sauteing the tops just like any other greens.

Finally, I froze a couple of servings of the stem (bulb) by cubing and blanching it first, and froze a few servings of the greens by giving them a quick steam (using only the water that was clinging to them after washing them), letting them cool and bagging them into freezer bags.

They're economical, too.  All of these dishes came from from just five kohlrabi plants!


McVal said...

I've never tried kohlrobi before but now I think I want to hit the farmers market this weekend and find some!
Thanks for the ideas! I can't believe your garden is producing already... Mine still has to be deweeded and planted...

Michelle said...

All that looks so good, I've never heard of this before!

slugmama said...

Well if I ever get adventurous and buy one, I'll know what to do with it. ;-)
I wonder if I could talk the kids into eating it? Did Kat eat any and what did she think?

Sheila said...

I've never had kohlrabie either but your pictures sure make it look tasty. I'll have to look into this some more. I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend. Take care.

Jill said...

I've never had this are always trying new things! :-)
Still waiting, our garden is in but not producing yet....
Have a great weekend!


SonyaAnn said...

I've never tried that before. It does look yummy but I think that is because you cooked it.

Alea Milham said...

I don't know how but I missed this post when it came out. Great ideas for kolrabi! You really can get a lot of food out of one plant.