Kohlrabi is a hybrid vegetable in the Brassica oleracea family, akin to the cabbage and the turnip for which it is named, (German – kohl means cabbage and rabi is a Swiss-German word for turnip) The flavor of Kohlrabi is a mixture of the somewhat spicy cabbage and the bulb of the turnip, and actually tastes like cabbage heart or broccoli stems. It can be eaten raw as well as cooked, and under the proper conditions, it can be stored raw for months, or it can be frozen to extend the life of its storage capacity.
With kohlrabi, nothing goes to waste. The leaves can be added to fresh salads or cooked into sauces and soups.
Kohlrabi was created by artificial selection for lateral growth (a swollen, nearly spherical shape); its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts: they are all bred from, and are the same species as, the wild cabbage plant (Brassica oleracea).
Flavor and Texture
The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.
Except for the Gigante cultivar, spring-grown kohlrabi much over 5 cm in size tend to be woody, as do full-grown kohlrabi much over perhaps 10 cm in size; the Gigante cultivar can achieve great size while remaining of good eating quality.
The plant matures in 55–60 days after sowing and has good standing ability for up to 30 days after maturity. The approximate weight is 150 g.
Varieties of Kohlrabi
There are several varieties commonly available, including White Vienna, Purple Vienna, Grand Duke, Gigante (also known as Superschmelz), Purple Danube, and White Danube.
Coloration of the purple types is superficial as the edible parts are all pale yellow. The leafy greens can also be eaten in the same manner as kale or collards. The bulbous kohlrabi stem is frequently used raw in salad or made into slaws. It has a texture similar to that of a broccoli stem, but with a flavor that is sweeter and less vegetable-like.