Weird Wonderful Kohlrabi
Ever wondered what that weird vegetable is that looks like it's from outer space? A bulbous purple (or pale green) orb with stems sticking up from the top? It's kohlrabi, a member of the Brassicae family which includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, and Brussels sprouts. The name comes from the German kohl (cabbage) and rabi (turnip). The kohlrabi is not a commonly used vegetable in the U.S. but is slowly gaining favor because of the simple flavors it imparts.
The entire plant is edible but most people usually prepare and eat the bulb portion. The skin has the texture of broccoli stems and can be white, light green, or bright purple. Purple kohlrabi is only purple on the outside - the flesh is a creamy white. The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to that of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter. Smaller kohlrabi are a bit more tender and sweet than larger ones. When purchasing, look for firm bulbs with fresh leaves.
Bulbs can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week, but leaves should be eaten within a day or two. When preparing, trim leaves - save for stir-frys and salads - and peel the outer layer of skin on the bulb away because it tends to be tough. Eat raw in salads or as a snack with dips. It tastes a lot like a mild broccoli stem, but sweeter. Substitute for recipes calling for radishes because they have a similar texture. Kohlrabi can be steamed or boiled, just like broccoli, but don't peel til after they are cooked. Pick up one of these exotic vegetables next time you visit your local farmers' market and enjoy!