Kohlrabi is a cool-season vegetable, often overlooked because of its strange, almost alien appearance. But this edible’s fast growth and great taste make kohlrabi something every gardener should try. Here’s how to plant, grow, and harvest kohlrabi!
Kohlrabi can be grown as a spring or fall crop; hot summer temperatures will stress the plant and hamper the growth of its nutritious, bulb-shaped stem.
Kohlrabi, which can be either purple or green, is a member of the Brassica family (alongside broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and many others). It’s a biennial; in the first year, the bulb-shaped stem grows. In the second year, the plant will flower and produce seeds.
When eating, the outer tough layer needs to be removed with a vegetable peeler. The interior white flesh is sweet and tender with a crisp texture and peppery flavor. In terms of taste, think of kohlrabi as a milder turnip. Some folks say it tastes somewhat of apple. It can be eaten raw, sprinkled with salt and lime or lemon juice. Or, slice thin and add to salads. You can cook kohlrabi but only lightly, added last in a stir-fry.
Kohlrabi is not only enjoyed for its taste but its nutritional value. It offers vitamins C, A and K; minerals like calcium, potassium and iron; and phytochemicals that protect against certain cancers. Kohlrabi greens are also nutritious, containing carotenes, vitamins and minerals. Like other Brassicas, both the stem and greens are rich in dietary fiber that aids digestive health.
If given a chance, kohlrabi is simple to grow, fast to mature (in as little as 6 weeks), and is generally pest-free. Give it a try!
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