Kohlrabi

One of the weirder looking vegetables that we grow, we’ve heard kohlrabi described as everything from an alien to a Mr Man, a Teletubby to Mike from Monsters Inc. If that encourages children to try it, so much the better! Kohlrabi has a sweet, peppery succulence and is one of the most underrated veg out there.

Storage & prep

Will keep for several weeks

Storage: If it arrives with any of its antenna-like leaves, trim them away so they don’t draw away moisture from the round cricket-ball-sized body. Kohlrabi is best stored in the fridge and will stay crisp and succulent for a week, or even two.

Prep: The skin is rarely tender enough to eat in all but the youngest crops. Peel it away and trim the root end. The irregular skin can sometimes fox a standard peeler; if so switch to a paring knife. Cut into sturdy chunks if roasting, braising or steaming. If eating raw, thinly slice, peel or grate.

Cooking tips

Extra-terrestrial in appearance. Mild, slightly sweet and radish-like in flavour. Trim, peel and try…

Kohlrabi cooking ideas

Raw in slaw: Peel and coarsely grate; or cut thinly and slice into skinny matchsticks. It will keep happy company in a traditional coleslaw with carrots, onion, cabbage and mayo. Fennel, beetroot and radishes would be welcome, too. It can work solo with chopped chillies, spring onions, coriander and plenty of lime juice for a simple Asian slaw. Dress it with yogurt, chopped raisins, black onion seeds and fresh coriander to sit alongside a fiery curry.

Hot: Peeled and chopped into 3cm chunks it will roast well in a hot oven in about 30 mins with plenty of oil, salt and pepper. It will cook in a matter of minutes if cut into matchsticks and added to a stir-fry. Thinly sliced and layered with starchy potatoes, it will make a tasty gratin or dauphinoise.

Quickly pickled: We often garnish salads in our restaurant with strips of raw crunchy kohlrabi that had been lightly pickled in cider vinegar, with a pinch of sugar and salt added, for about 20 mins. Use a swivel topped veg peeler to get nice thin strips. Drain and finish with a little chopped dill or parsley. Try tucking it into burgers, wraps or sandwiches in place of a more standard pickle.

Kohlrabi recipe

Courgette, fennel and kohlrabi salad

Riverford Cook Anna is a big fan of using courgettes, fennel and kohlrabi raw, so this simple salad pairs the crunchy raw veg with citrus and spice. The fennel seeds accentuate the fennel bulb's natural flavour, while the caraway is a good match for the brassica flavour of the kohlrabi. If you don't have all the spices just use those which you do. Cut the veg as thinly as you can (or use a mandolin).

Serves 4 - 15 min

Flavour Friends

Kohlrabi works well with:

Acid – citrus, vinegars

Alliums – garlic, onions, shallots

Apple

Carrot

Chilli

Dairy – butter, cream, yoghurt, Parmesan

Herbs – chives, chervil, coriander, dill, parsley

Mustard and mustard seeds

Sesame

Sweet things – dried fruits, honey, sugar

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