A lesser-known member of the brassica family, kohlrabi is an under-appreciated, yet a remarkably delicious vegetable you should try growing at home. It’s a cool weather crop that is perfect for spring and fall gardens.
The truth is, many people avoid growing kohlrabi because they’re not exactly sure what it even is. So, let’s set the record straight: Kohlrabi is delicious and yes … it is indeed a vegetable!
The word “kohlrabi” is a German word that means “cabbage turnip.” Sure, it’s rather odd looking. Some may even say it’s ugly. Looks aside, kohlrabi sure packs a nutritional punch – much like its other cousins in the brassica family. Kohlrabi is packed with vital phytochemicals known to exhibit antioxidant properties in the body.
Inside the tough outer skin of the kohlrabi lies a crisp and juicy vegetable with a taste that is mild, yet sweet, much like a turnip. You can eat this inner part raw or cooked. When cooking kohlrabi, make sure to peel it at least twice. There is a dense layer of skin that lies between the edible part of the vegetable and the ugly outside part. All of this needs to be discarded before cooking. Once you reach a light layer of crisp flesh, you’re good to go. The greens of the kohlrabi plant can be cooked much like you would cook kale or turnip greens.
Direct sow in early spring for a crop that will mature in about 8 weeks. Sow again in late July to early August for fall gardens. Keep in mind that kohlrabi is a cool weather crop, and sowing during intense temperatures may result in inferior bulbs. It is generally recommended to direct sow your kohlrabi, but some gardeners have success with starting plants indoors and transplanting them to the garden when temperatures are less intense.
You should harvest your Early White Vienna Kohlrabi when the bulbs are approximately the size of an apple. Letting them get too large will result in woody flesh that’s tough to peel, cook, and eat. The Early White Vienna heirloom variety produces pale green skinned bulbs. (They are not purple like traditional kohlrabi.)