Kohlrabi, also known as German turnip or cabbage turnip, is a lesser-known but delicious vegetable in the Brassica family. It is a cool-season crop with a unique shape and mild, sweet taste, making it a versatile ingredient in a range of dishes. But what exactly is kohlrabi, and what makes it worth incorporating into your diet?
In this article, we’ll explore the answers to these questions and more by diving into the nutrition facts, health benefits, recipes, and other essential information about kohlrabi.
What Is Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is a unique and versatile vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, which includes cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. It has a bulbous-shaped stem with leaves sprouting from the top. The name “kohlrabi” is derived from the German words “kohl” meaning cabbage and “rabi” meaning turnip, as it resembles a cross between the two. Kohlrabi comes in green or purple varieties, both of which offer a crisp, juicy texture and a mildly sweet flavor reminiscent of broccoli stems or radishes.
This vegetable is prized for its nutritional content, as it is low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and B-vitamins. Kohlrabi also contains antioxidants that support overall health and may have anti-inflammatory properties. It can be enjoyed both raw and cooked, adding a unique crunch and flavor to salads, stir-fries, soups, and even roasted as a delicious side dish. With its distinct appearance and health benefits, kohlrabi is a wonderful addition to any culinary repertoire.
5 Engaging Facts About Kohlrabi’s Origin and Uses
1. Ancient Origins: Kohlrabi, scientifically known as Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes, has been cultivated for centuries and is believed to have originated in Europe. It is a member of the Brassica family, which includes other popular vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and kale.
2. Mysterious Name: The word “kohlrabi” is derived from the German language and translates to “cabbage-turnip” or “turnip-cabbage.” This name refers to the bulbous-shaped stem that is its most recognizable feature. The edible part of kohlrabi is not actually a root but a swollen stem that grows just above ground level.
3. Versatile Uses: Kohlrabi is an incredibly versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. When raw, it has a crisp texture with a slightly sweet and peppery taste, making it an excellent addition to salads or used as a crunchy snack. Cooked kohlrabi has a milder, sweeter flavor and a tender texture, making it great for roasting, steaming, stir-frying, or even adding to soups and stews.
4. Nutrient Powerhouse: Despite its relatively humble appearance, kohlrabi packs a nutritional punch. It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese. Additionally, kohlrabi is rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, which can promote digestion, boost immunity, and protect against chronic diseases.
5. Lesser-Known Preparations: While kohlrabi may not be as widely known or used as other vegetables, it has unique preparations that are worth exploring. In Gujarat, India, kohlrabi is often grated and mixed with spices and yogurt to create a popular side dish called “kachumber.” Kohlrabi leaves, which are also edible and have a slightly bitter taste, can be cooked similarly to spinach or kale, offering a nutritious alternative to traditional greens.
Overall, kohlrabi’s origin and uses are a testament to the diversity of the culinary world. Whether enjoyed raw or cooked, this underappreciated vegetable offers a refreshing taste, abundant nutrients, and a range of delightful culinary possibilities.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is packed with essential nutrients, making it an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Here are some of the Kohlrabi nutrition facts according to USDA:
1. Vitamin C: Kohlrabi is an excellent source of Vitamin C, with a single cup providing over 70 percent of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps protect the body against free radicals, strengthens the immune system, and promotes healthy skin.
2. Fiber: A single cup of Kohlrabi contains around 5 grams of fiber, which is about 20% of the daily recommended intake. Fiber is essential for maintaining healthy digestion, regulating blood sugar, and preventing constipation.
3. Potassium: Kohlrabi is rich in potassium, with a single cup providing around 14% of the daily recommended intake. Potassium is essential for regulating blood pressure, heart health, and electrolyte balance.
4. Vitamin B6: A single cup of Kohlrabi provides around 10% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 plays a crucial role in brain development, metabolism, and immune system function.
5. Calcium: Kohlrabi is a rich source of Calcium, with a single cup providing around 6% of the daily recommended intake. Calcium is essential for healthy bones, teeth, and muscle function.
Kohlrabi is a nutrient-dense vegetable packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Adding Kohlrabi to your diet can provide numerous health benefits such as improving digestion, regulating blood sugar levels, and strengthening the immune system.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Kohlrabi?
1. Rich in nutrients: Kohlrabi is packed with essential nutrients like vitamins C and K, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. These nutrients play crucial roles in maintaining the overall health of the body.
2. Enhances digestion: With its high fiber content, kohlrabi aids in digestion by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. It also helps in maintaining a healthy gut by nourishing beneficial gut bacteria.
3. Boosts immune system: Kohlrabi is an excellent source of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and strengthens the immune system. A strong immune system helps to fight off infections and promotes overall health.
4. Supports bone health: Being rich in vitamin K, kohlrabi plays a vital role in maintaining bone health. Vitamin K helps in bone mineralization and strengthens bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
5. Promotes heart health: Potassium, found in abundance in kohlrabi, is essential for maintaining a healthy heart. It helps in regulating blood pressure and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes.
6. Weight management: Kohlrabi is a low-calorie vegetable that can be an excellent addition to a weight-loss diet. It is high in fiber and water content, which helps in promoting satiety and reducing overeating.
7. Anti-inflammatory properties: Kohlrabi contains compounds like glucosinolates that have anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of kohlrabi may help in reducing inflammation in the body, thus protecting against chronic diseases.
8. Skin health: The presence of vitamin C in kohlrabi makes it beneficial for the skin. Vitamin C promotes the production of collagen, improving skin elasticity and reducing wrinkles. It also protects the skin from damage caused by harmful UV rays.
9. Supports eye health: Kohlrabi contains carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which are essential for maintaining good eye health. Consuming kohlrabi regularly can help prevent age-related macular degeneration and improve overall vision.
10. Hydration: With its high water content, kohlrabi helps in keeping the body hydrated. Staying hydrated is important for numerous bodily functions, including maintaining body temperature, lubricating joints, and aiding in digestion.
How To Select And Store Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that is easy to grow and enjoy in a variety of meals. Its unique taste and texture make it a great addition to salads, soups, and stir-fries.
If you are new to kohlrabi, you may be wondering how to select and store this vegetable to ensure that it stays fresh and flavorful. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your kohlrabi:
1. Look for firm bulbs: Choose kohlrabi that is firm and heavy for its size. Avoid any bulbs that feel soft or have brown spots, as these may be less fresh or beginning to spoil.
2. Check the leaves: The leaves of kohlrabi should be bright green and free from any browning or wilting. If the leaves look damaged, this could be an indication that the bulb may not be fresh.
3. Size: Kohlrabi comes in different sizes, but generally, it is better to select smaller bulbs that have a sweeter and more tender flavor. However, if you want to use the kohlrabi for roasting or grilling, larger bulbs can be good options.
1. Separate the leaves from the bulb: To ensure that the kohlrabi stays fresh, it is best to remove the leaves from the bulb and store them separately. This way, the bulb won’t lose its moisture through the leaves.
2. Store in the fridge: Kohlrabi can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. Place the bulb and leaves in separate plastic bags or containers, leaving some space for air circulation.
3. Use within a week: If possible, use the kohlrabi within a week of purchasing to ensure maximum freshness and flavor.
4. Avoid freezing: Kohlrabi does not freeze well, so it is best to consume it fresh.
Selecting and storing kohlrabi is easy with these simple tips. The key is to choose firm, fresh bulbs and store them separately from the leaves in a cool, dry place. By doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy this delicious and nutritious vegetable in a variety of meals.
3 Simple Kohlrabi Recipes to Satisfy Your Palate!
Kohlrabi is a delicious and versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. If you’re looking for some new ways to enjoy kohlrabi, we’ve got you covered with these 3 simple Kohlrabi recipes to satisfy your palate.
1. Kohlrabi salad with apple and feta
1 kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
How to Prepare:
In a large bowl, combine the kohlrabi, apple, and feta cheese.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
2. Roasted kohlrabi with garlic and parmesan
2 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
How to Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl, toss the kohlrabi with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Spread the kohlrabi wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned.
Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the kohlrabi wedges and return to the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
3. Kohlrabi and carrot soup
2 kohlrabi, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
How to Prepare:
In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until softened.
Add the kohlrabi, carrots, broth, and thyme, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil or a dollop of sour cream.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you have a deep understanding of the health benefits of Kohlrabi there might be some questions that must be bothering you.
In the below section, we will try and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Kohlrabi.
While there is no strict definition of a "superfood," kohlrabi is often considered a highly nutritious vegetable. It is low in calories but rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Its impressive nutrient profile and potential health benefits make it a valuable addition to a balanced and healthy diet.
Kohlrabi is commonly available in well-stocked supermarkets, grocery stores, and farmers' markets. Look for it in the produce section alongside other vegetables. If you prefer organic or locally sourced options, farmers' markets or specialty food stores might be your best bet.
Yes, kohlrabi can be easily grown in a home garden. It thrives in cool weather and requires well-drained soil and full sun. Plant the seeds directly in the garden or start them indoors. With proper care and regular watering, you can enjoy homegrown kohlrabi in your own backyard.
Kohlrabi typically takes about 50 to 60 days from seed sowing to harvest. However, this can vary depending on the specific variety, growing conditions, and desired size. Regular watering, proper soil nutrition, and providing adequate sunlight will help ensure a successful and timely growth of kohlrabi in your garden.
Yes, kohlrabi is a great vegetable for weight loss. It is low in calories and high in fiber, which helps promote feelings of fullness and aids in healthy digestion. Additionally, its nutrient density provides essential vitamins and minerals while being a satisfying and nutritious addition to a balanced diet.
Yes, kohlrabi is good for your gut health. It is a good source of dietary fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and helps maintain regular bowel movements. The fiber content also supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, contributing to a healthy gut microbiome and overall digestive well-being.
Kohlrabi contains certain compounds, such as glucosinolates and flavonoids, that have shown anti-inflammatory properties in studies. These compounds may help reduce inflammation in the body and contribute to overall health. However, more research is needed to fully understand the extent of kohlrabi's anti-inflammatory effects in humans.
Kohlrabi can be beneficial for liver health. It is rich in antioxidants and contains compounds like glucosinolates, which may have protective effects on the liver. Additionally, its high fiber content aids in digestion and elimination of toxins, supporting liver function. Including kohlrabi as part of a balanced diet can contribute to a healthy liver.
Absolutely! Kohlrabi is a versatile vegetable that can be used in soups and stews. Its mild and slightly sweet flavor adds a unique taste and texture to these dishes. Simply peel and dice the kohlrabi, then add it to your favorite soup or stew recipes for an extra boost of flavor and nutrition.
Yes, kohlrabi can be eaten raw. In fact, it is often enjoyed this way, as it has a crisp, crunchy texture and a mildly sweet flavor. Raw kohlrabi can be sliced or grated and added to salads, slaws, or enjoyed as a crunchy snack.
Kohlrabi comes in various varieties, each offering its unique characteristics. Common types include the white or green Vienna kohlrabi, which is widely available, and the purple or red Kohlrabi Kohlrabi. Some varieties have a smooth bulb, while others have a more spherical or elongated shape.
Yes, you can freeze kohlrabi. To freeze kohlrabi, peel and cut it into small cubes or slices. Blanch the pieces in boiling water for a few minutes, then quickly cool them in ice water. Drain well, place in freezer bags or containers, and store in the freezer for up to several months.
In Summary, kohlrabi is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that deserves a place in your kitchen. With its unique taste and crunchy texture, it can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes, adding depth and flavor to your meals. Not only is kohlrabi low in calories and rich in essential nutrients, but it also provides numerous health benefits.
From boosting digestion and supporting a healthy immune system to promoting weight loss and blood sugar control, the nutritional profile of kohlrabi is impressive.
Whether you try it raw, steamed, roasted, or added to soups and stews, there are endless possibilities to incorporate kohlrabi into your diet.
So, why not give this underrated vegetable a chance and explore the numerous health benefits and delicious recipes it has to offer?