July 24, 2021

Today’s Main Ingredient is Kohlrabi
Host Mikki Uzupes talks with farmer Anita Avvisato from Far Away Farms in Cherry Ridge PA, and foodie Jane Bollinger, the producer of this program. Registered Dietitian Carol Kneier adds about kohlrabi’s significant health benefits. Mikki, Jane and Anita also talk about shopping at farmers’ markets to get fresher and healthy foods, and how the money spent stays local and circulates more in your community.

Koolrabi (Brassica oleracea convar. acephala alef. var. gongylodes)

About Kohlrabi

If you see a vegetable at your farmers market that looks like an alien spacecraft, you have found Kohlrabi. This vegetable is a relative of cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and turnips. Sometimes called a German turnip, it gets its name from the German word Kohl (cabbage) and Rubë (turnip). Kohlrabi is not a root vegetable, but has a bulb-like stem that grows above ground with leaves that grow from slender, protruding “branches.”

Kohlrabi tastes sweeter and milder and is crisper and juicier than a turnip. Its taste is most often likened to that of broccoli stems and its crispiness like that of a radish.

Kohlrabi is not widely grown commercially but has become popular at farmers’ markets and through CSAs. It comes in green, nearly white, and purple varieties, all of which have a white or cream-colored interior.

Growing Kohlrabi

More info at:
In early spring, seeds can be started in a cold frame or plastic tunnel, or start indoors and transplant outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. Once the soil temperature reaches a steady 45⁰F, you can sow seeds directly in the ground. Prepare planting beds with compost or aged manure.

Choose a location in full sun… in rich, well-drained soil. To prevent the spread of disease, don’t plant where other members of the Brassica family have grown in the previous two or three years.

Purple kohlrabiPlant 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, about 2 inches apart, in rows that are 10 to 12 inches apart. Thin the seedlings to 4 inches apart when they are big enough to handle. Mulch to keep the soil moist, and water 1 inch per square foot per week. Depending on the variety, kohlrabi will be ready to harvest anywhere between 45 to 80 days, with the exception of the Gigante variety, which takes 130 to reach maturity. It also likes cool, fall weather and can be planted again in mid- to late-summer. In mild-winter regions, leave kohlrabi in the ground over the winter and harvest globes as needed. Kohlrabi is a biennial, which means if tended properly it will overwinter and blossom again in a second year. Typically, most people plant it as an annual, however.

Your kohlrabi will be ready in early- to mid-summer. To harvest, cut the root off at ground level when the bulbous stems are between 2 and 4 inches in diameter. Don’t let bulbs become too large as they can become tough and bitter. The tender leaves are also edible. Harvest small to medium size if eating raw; plan to cook them if they are large. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Remove the stem leaves and wash before storing.

In the Kitchen

Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked.

How to peel and cut Kohlrabi

  1. First, remove the leaves if they are still attached, discarding or reserving them for other recipes. The fresh leaves from small bulbs (baseball size kohlrabi) are certainly edible; cook them as you would cook kale. Many people find the leaves from very large kohlrabi (cantaloupe size) too tough to bother with; toss them in the compost pile.
  2. Next cut straight across the stem end with a sharp knife and remove it. This end is quite fibrous and tougher than the rest of the bulb and is usually discarded. In the same fashion, remove the top end of the bulb.
  3. Kohlrabi skin is thick and tough, and the preferred way to peel it is with a sharp knife, rather than a vegetable peeler. If you must use a vegetable peeler, you will have to make more than one pass to remove the skin, revealing the bulb’s white interior flesh. Note: The skin will not break down in cooking.
  4. Now, remove any spongy parts at the stem end. And if you detect that the stem end still has a woody center core, remove that too by scooping it out. (A melon baller, if you have one, works great for this.) Remove any other visible fibers.

Slice in half, and then cut into slices or dice, depending on the recipe. If the kohlrabi is quite large, cut in half and then into manageable wedges first, then slice or dice.

Freezing: Peel and dice for freezing.

Kohlrabi Recipes


Kohlrabi slaw: shred or julienne as you would for coleslaw and toss with your favorite dressing. See:

Kohlrabi Crudités: Serve sliced on a platter with other vegetables and your favorite dip.


Kohlrabi can be steamed, sautéed, roasted, creamed, stir fried or fried like French fries, in soup or stew, grilled coated with oil, baked in a tightly sealed foil packet, or hollowed out and stuffed.

For a simple side dish, sauté sliced kohlrabi in a bit of butter in a skillet. Once it begins to show some caramelization, season it with salt, a dash of nutmeg, and a little sugar for increased sweetness. Continue cooking until slightly al dente, with a bit of crispness, and serve.

Cut into wedges. Place in a saucepan in a vegetable steamer basket over about an inch of water. Cover and steam until the kohlrabi is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and toss with parsley, butter or olive oil, and season with salt to taste.


Creamed Kohlrabi – serves 4 to 6

4 kohlrabi, tops and stem ends removed, peeled and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pint half-and-half
1 whole nutmeg (for grating) or substitute ground nutmeg

STEP 1 – Bring a 3 or 4-quart pot of water to a boil, and give it a good couple pinches of salt. Add the kohlrabi and boil until tender but not falling apart, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside on the plate you plan to serve the kohlrabi on.

STEP 2 – Melt the butter in the same pot, and then sprinkle the flour over. Whisk constantly until the flour is cooked and turns a light tan color, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the half-and-half, whisking the entire time.

STEP 3 – Turn the heat down to a simmer, and keep whisking until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Pour the hot sauce over the kohlrabi. If you have whole nutmeg, grate a dusting of nutmeg with a thin grater over the entire dish. Alternatively, sprinkle with ground nutmeg. Season with salt and serve.

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Kohlrabi two waysKohlrabi two ways—creamed kohlrabi (left) and German Schnitzel make a filling vegetarian meal.

Kohlrabi Schnitzel – serves 2
Recipe from ~ Translated and adapted from
Time: 30 minutes

2 kohlrabies
2 eggs
ground almonds (optional)
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

STEP 1 – Fill a saucepan with salted water. While waiting to come to a boil, peel the kohlrabi and cut into slices of approximately 3/8th inch.

STEP 2 – Cook the kohlrabi slices in the boiling water till slightly tender, about 7-8 minutes. Remove the slices, drain, and pat dry.

STEP 3 – Mix the ground almonds with the breadcrumbs, if using. Bread the kohlrabi cutlets by coating each slice first in seasoned flour, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs. The kohlrabi should be completely coated on all sides.

STEP 4 – Heat the oil in a pan, and brown the cutlets until golden on both sides. Remove the kohlrabi schnitzels from the pan and drain to remove any excess oil. Serve while hot.

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Kohlrabi Chips with Ranch Dressing – serves 6
Recipe adapted from
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes

4 medium-sized kohlrabi, tough stems and leaves removed, skin peeled
2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil or olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Ranch dressing

Preheat the oven to 400⁰F
STEP 1 – Cut kohlrabi like French fries into 1/8-inch slices. Toss the kohlrabi with oil, salt, pepper and cayenne.

STEP 2 – Place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake until golden brown and crisp on all sides, about 15-20 minutes. Toss halfway through cooking.

STEP 3 – Depending on the size of each chip they will finish at different times. Remove individual chips as needed to paper towels when they are done.

STEP 4 – Serve with ranch dressing and a sprinkle of more salt and pepper to taste.

Download Recipe

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Today's Main Ingredient is sponsored in part by:

Greater Pike Community Foundation
Overlook Estate Foundation
Wayne-Pike Farm Bureau

Thanks also to Fertile Valley and Wolfe Spring Farms for their sponsorship of the BoldGold radio station broadcasts.

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