Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Kohlrabi is coming in as your K

Last year I reviewed a book called The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson and he stated in the book one of the reasons he ended up writing a Seasonal Cook Book was due to a neighbor that wanted to know what he should do with Kohlrabi. I totally understood the problem. We've been growing  it for a few years and selling it at the market and we are often asked the same questions, we promise we're doing better this year giving out better recipes and calling attention to underserved veggies.
Image from Mother Earth News

What is Kohlrabi? I know it's not something that you see much of at the grocery store, much less at restaurants but if you want to add something a bit international to your family's dinner, check it out.
It originated in germany and has also been referred to as a German Cabbage or  a Turnip Cabbage. It is in the Brassica family, like Kale and it is also high in antioxidants and Vitamin C. While it's a strange looking veggie and it takes a bit of work to get to the best parts, it is totally worth it! The small amounts of greens that it grows are eatable, while the main part is the stem, which resembles a turnip growing above ground. The spherical stem has two layers of fibrous materials which will need to be removed since they do not soften noticeably during cooking.

So what am I supposed to do with this crazy looking vegetable? That's the number one question we are posed with at the market. People are interested but just not sure what it is or what in the world to do with it. It does have a mild flavor like broccoli and is best when it's small. Large bulbs can become woody. It is a cool weather plant and most often you'll see it at the Market in late fall and Spring.

Want to grow  your own? It's a very undemanding plant. It grows well with beets, lettuces and Chards. In the Fall direct sow straight into the garden late August for harvest in late September early October. Some frost is fine and will even sweeten the taste some, like collards or turnips. Spring growing depends on our climate. In warmer areas start indoors up to 4 weeks before the last frost, so it can beat the heat. They are great to add color to your cool weather gardens, they come in white and purple varieties.

Ok so now I have them, what do I do with them? Here's a simple side dish recipe with tons of flavor from The Broad Fork.

Steamed Kohlrabi with Shallot and Celery Leaves

  • Two bulbs of Kohlrabi
  • Two sprigs of Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted Butter
  • Salt
  • One Shallot cut into thin rings
  • One Tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup Celery Leaves
Peel the Kohlrabi and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
Melt the Butter is a sauce pan over medium high heat. When the butter has bubbled add the Kohlrabi cubes. Stir well and then add Shallot, Thyme and Celery Leaves. Reduce heat to medium and add 1/4 cup water and cover to steam. Cook until the Kohlrabi is just tender, about 6 minutes. If any water remains, remove lid so it will evaporate. Salt to taste and add Sesame seeds to garnish.

Serves 4.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll give Kohlrabi a try this spring. I'm taking a turn towards Asian  flavors for Thursday with Lemongrass for the L.