Purple Kohlrabi

February 3, 2006

Kohlrabi is definitely a strange looking vegetable. It’s difficult to describe, so rather than try I’ll just attach a picture below. You’ll see what I mean; it looks like a baseball on a stem with leaves growing out of the top.

As unusual as kohlrabi looks, it’s very attractive and the purple color provides an ornamental accent to the vegetable garden. If you like growing unique vegetables and fruits as much as I do then I’m sure you’ll want to add a few purple kohlrabi plants to one of your raised beds next spring.

KOHLRABI PHOTO.JPGThey’re easy to grow and can be started indoors or planted directly into the garden. The plants grow best during cool weather and can be raised as a spring crop or be included in a fall vegetable garden. Not quite hardy enough to be classified as a winter vegetable, but they do withstand frost and will grow long into the fall growing season.

The only insects I’ve ever noticed attacking purple kohlrabi were aphids, and they didn’t cause enough damage to the plants to worry over. Even cabbage butterflies which normally flock to cabbage family crops show no interest in this one.

While the leaves are edible, it’s the round bulb that is normally used in the kitchen. It’s also difficult to describe kohlrabi’s taste, it has a mildly cabbage-like flavor with a crisp, crunchy, and at the same time tender, texture. I told you it was difficult to describe, but I would wager that most people who try it will be surprised and really enjoy the pleasant taste.

I have seen recipes for cooking kohlrabi, but I enjoy it too much as a raw vegetable to bother with cooking it. Simply peel the skin and slice or cut into carrot stick sized pieces. Kohlrabi would make a great addition to a colorful raw vegetable tray of Red Celery, Romanesco Broccoli, Yellow Carrots, and Royalty Purple Pod Beans.

Purple kohlrabi varieties include: Azur Star, Early Purple Vienna, Dyna, and Kolibri. The just as tasty though less ornamental green varieties include: Early White Delicacy, Granlibakken, Early White Vienna, and Gigante.


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