Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kohlrabi

Let's talk kohlrabi.

I grew up knowing and loving kohlrabi - not surprising for a German immigrant family.  Germans know their kohlrabi!   In fact, the word kohlrabi is German for cabbage (kohl) turnip (rube) - a practical, no-nonsense name, wouldn't you agree?

Kohlrabi is indeed a member of the brassica or cabbage family and, while it grows above ground, its shape and size is very similar to a turnip.  The taste and texture of kohlrabi is somewhat similar to a broccoli stem or a cabbage heart, although much better.  It can be eaten raw or cooked.

Except for being highly attractive for flea beetles, kohlrabi is relatively easy to grow.  The only tricky part is harvesting it before it gets too big.  Once it gets bigger than an apple, it tends to get woody (in a dry year, it will get woody earlier).  And it doesn't take long to mature - about 55-60 days, similar to broccoli.

Flea beetles have wreaked havoc on our kohlrabi for the last few years.  They were at it again this year, until we installed our floating row cover (a very worthwhile investment).

Here are some photos of our kohlrabi - from planting to eating.

We planted our cabbage patch on the May long weekend.

The flea beetle attack began in early June.

By June 7 the leaves were completely stripped, I thought our kohlrabi days were over.

On June 25 we installed a floating row cover over our entire cabbage patch.

The leaves came back and our kohlrabi was saved!

On July 16 we harvested our first kohlrabi and prepared my favourite kohlrabi dish - kohlrabi in creamy dill sauce.



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