Saturday, February 11, 2012

Veggie Ventures: Kohlrabi

Welcome to the Veggie Ventures series, where we'll take a glimpse
at veggies my husband and I want to grow but have never really eaten!

Ok.  We are admittedly guilty of falling into the trap of growing something in our garden because "it looks so gosh darn cool."  That's what happened with kohlrabi, a member of the Brassica family.  The name "kohlrabi" comes from the German words for "cabbage" and "turnip," but its flavor and cooked texture resemble a very mild broccoli stem.  Even though it looks like a root vegetable, the bulbous part grows above ground--so cool! 

Anyway, did you know that in south Louisiana kohlrabi is terribly difficult to find in grocery stores/farmers markets/produce stands?  We searched high and low for a specimen to sample before taking the plunge and planting the seeds, but to no avail.  Luckily our gamble paid off because they ended up being pretty tasty!  We ended up planting two varieties, the purple and white:

Isn't the purple kohlrabi just stunning?  It's almost unreal how brilliant the color is!  I enjoyed admiring the purple kohlrabi growing in our garden from our kitchen window!

To prepare the kohlrabi harvest, we peeled them (a task which proved more difficult than anticipated), diced them, and steamed them in the microwave until tender.  Then we threw them into a rice and cheese casserole instead of broccoli.  Yumm!  As a sidenote, we were a little nervous after harvesting the kohlrabi.  The aroma that came from the kitchen sink where they were waiting to be washed was...pungent.  Very, very pungent.  Like cabbage times 1,000.  Luckily none of that carried over after cooking.  The cooked flesh was mild and sweet, as promised!

Veggie Verdict:
We liked this one and would probably grow it again with a couple of changes.  The kohlrabi plants had massive leaves that shaded out everything growing near it.  This will definitely be taken into consideration during the next planting.  Also, the kohlrabi is a heavy feeder.  I knew this.  It was right on the seed pack.  Did I fertilize?  No, not really.  The garden got a bit of plant food at the beginning, but other than some water we didn't feed the kohlrabi.  Some veggie food would've definitely helped some of the scrawnier bulbs fatten up. 

Explore the Series:
Winter Squash
Acorn Squash
Butternut Squash
Spaghetti Squash
Swiss Chard


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