Vegetable Series: When we changed our eating two years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable. Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart. For a long time I’ve wanted to do a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things. May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket! Go get ’em, tiger.
So far we’ve hit artichokes, rutabagas, and jicama in “The Vegetable Series,” all vegetables I only learned to make AFTER our family’s big eating change. Today we’re going to add kohlrabi to the pot. Kohlrabi takes me back to my high school, big-hair days. I first (only) ate it at the house of one of my best friends, fresh garden-picked kohlrabi, sliced and eaten raw with a sprinkling of salt, with all her family gathered around the table. Fun times. Her mom was a cardiac nurse. No wonder they ate kohlrabi. But YOU don’t have to be a cardiac nurse or doctor to know the advantages of kohlrabi! Uh, uh.
Terry Wahls’, MD reversed her debilitating multiple sclerosis using a vegetable dense (also meats, fruits, and other food components) diet. One of her “rules” is that sulfur-rich vegetables must be eaten every day, about 3 cups worth. Kohlrabi counts as a sulfur-rich vegetable, which helps regenerate a necessary pathway for dealing with “toxins”, called the glutathione pathway. Sulfur-rich vegetables are also important for mitochondrial function, enzyme structure and function, and dealing with heavy metals.
Coal + Rob + Bee = Kohlrabi
Geesh. Learning to pronounce the names of some of these vegetables requires more effort than learning to eat them. So to start off, the vegetable called “kohlrabi” is pronounced to my ear like these three words combined: coal + rob + bee. Which is different from how I was pronouncing it before this post, a cross between what you get for Christmas if you’re naughty and a Jewish teacher of the Torah: coal + rabbi.
Kohlrabi is a member of the same family as cabbage, Brussels, and cauliflower, the brassica (or cruciferous) family. In fact, its name is German for cabbage (kohl) and turnip (rabi). (1) (If you like languages, then think about “cole slaw.”) Although it looks like a root vegetable (such as beets or carrots), it grows as a bulb above the ground. I want to point out that cruciferous vegetables may interfere with thyroid hormone and iodine utility, however, some of my reading suggests that if you have enough co-nutrients, like selenium, this may not be a problem. So hopefully I’ll get a post out about this as I work through the iodine posts.
Good. Good. How do you eat them?
Without a doubt, my favorite way to eat kohlrabi is raw. It tastes like a radish without the spiciness and is every bit as crunchy. However, like many, many vegetables, you can steam it, roast it, grate it for a slaw, stir-fry it, or throw it in a soup. Fear should cause no restraint here.
How do you prepare them?
Chop off the greens. If the greens are still fresh looking, you can sauté or steam them as you would spinach or any other green you like. (If you’re not sure how to make greens, leave a question in the comments, and I can throw out some ideas.) If they are not fresh looking, and you want to use them anyhow, then wash them up and toss them in some broth you may be making. If you want, discard them. I’ve started composting this year, so my wilted greens go here. (I even Googled chemtrails a week or two ago. I am so lost. No going back now. Please can I have my aluminum deodorant back yet? 🙂 )
Deeply peel the bulb. Wash kohlrabi, and then start peeling. There is a fibrous outer layer that you want to completely remove. You can see the fibers running along the bulb, so it’s pretty apparent how deep to cut. I use a paring knife to peel them, rather than a potato peeler, and I hack off the ends because they’re hard to peel. Once it’s all peeled, slice it up and eat it with some salt. Or cook it up however you choose.
Kohlrabi keeps well unpeeled in the fridge, although the leaves do not. I’ve had mine in there before for a week or more (admittedly really a lot more). The leaves only last a couple of days or so.
Do your kids like it?
Yes. All three kids (girls aged 10, 8, and 5) liked kohlrabi raw. My husband, one daughter, and I all liked the kohlrabi roasted.
Recipes ideas and recipes from other sites:
Roasted kohlrabi: I have made roasted kohlrabi where I chopped the kohlrabi into small cubes, added chopped onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil to moisten, spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and roasted at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius) until golden brown. It looked like roasted potatoes, but they were not a bit starchy and had a bit of the cabbage family bite. Three of us liked it (out of 5), but next time I would mix it with a starchier vegetable like sweet potato or butternut squash for depth of flavor and texture.
Mashed kohlrabi: Instead of mashing cauliflower or rutabaga, try mashed kohlrabi. Steam the kohlrabi until fork tender (boiling it may make the mash more soupy). Place in a small food processor or blender or mash by hand with oil of choice (bacon drippings, butter, or olive oil would be good choices depending on your preferences and tolerances), just a bit of oil at a time until you get the consistency you want. Add salt and pepper to flavor. If you’re fancy, add some roasted garlic. (I am not fancy, but I almost always make the effort to throw some garlic cloves tossed in olive oil to roast in the oven while I’m preparing a mash. I think the roasted garlic makes “mashes” of any kind taste that much better, especially if you don’t/cant’ use butter and milk.)
Kohlrabi soup: This uses dairy and flour, but these pesky ingredients can be easily substituted with coconut or almond milk and arrowroot powder for those with intolerances.
Asian Kohlrabi slaw: Sesame oil and rice wine vinegar are the only flags I see for some folks with intolerances here. If you tolerate those, this slaw looks perfect!
Kohlrabi curry: We make curry like this a lot, but I’ve never used kohlrabi. Next time I have some sitting around, I’ll not hesitate to throw it in the skillet.
If you’re proud that you or your family has tried a new vegetable, even if it’s not “exotic” or “out there,” leave a comment. I’d LOVE to hear about it! Broadening the taste buds certainly seems to help when it comes to “healthy eating.” And look around you. Listen to those around you. Perhaps even look at yourself. Humanity and society cannot afford to continue down the horrific nutritional path that is now common practice. Processed foods HAVE to go. Work on it. If you don’t try, it will NEVER happen. And trying isn’t just serving it once, and saying, “They didn’t like it. They won’t eat it.” That is NOT how you learned to ride a bike.