Vegetables: Give kohlrabi a try

Don’t let kohlrabi sit, unused, in the corner of the fridge until it slowly wanes. Take advantage of the many health benefits of this vegetable.

Kohlrabi is one of those vegetables that make a regular appearance in vegetable community supported agriculture boxes, but sits, unused. That is unfortunate because this vegetable is loaded with good nutrition. The low-calorie plant is high in fiber and contains the dietary minerals selenium, folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and copper. German for “cabbage turnip,” kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale and mustard. It offers the same awesome health benefits as these cole crop cousins.

Just one cup of raw kohlrabi contains nearly 100 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin C, plus it’s a good source of fiber, and has less than 40 calories. Cole crops such as kohlrabi also contain glucosinolates, which break down into compounds that researchers think may help protect against many kinds of cancer. As mentioned earlier, kohlrabi is a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for energy because it increases the body’s ability to absorb iron better. Iron is needed to transport oxygen in red blood cells.

The flavor of kohlrabi is similar to raw broccoli stems mixed with cabbage, turnip and radish, but slightly sweeter. Kohlrabi can be eaten as raw or cooked. Avoid overcooking it which will destroy many of its nutrients. To help preserve the nutrients, use a lid to cover the vegetable.

Remove the stems by pulling or cutting them off the kohlrabi globe. Stems and leaves can be chopped and included in a tossed salad. Their flavor is mild and takes well to salad dressing. If the kohlrabi is small, there is no need to peel it. You may want to cut off the tough base end. If you've purchased large kohlrabi, peel it and slice off the tough woody base before slicing or dicing. Slice or cut the globe into julienne and include on a relish tray with dips. You can also coarsely grate kohlrabi into a tossed salad. Because it is mild, succulent and porous, it absorbs the flavor of a mild or pungent salad dressing quite well. Dice kohlrabi and combine with your favorite vegetables and dressing for a chopped salad with delightful crispness.

Slice kohlrabi or cut into bite-sized pieces and put into a saucepan with a half inch of water. Add a dash of salt, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to low and steam for five to seven minutes. Leaves can be steamed lightly just as you would do spinach.

Slice or chop kohlrabi and toss in a bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with a dash of salt, and wrap in aluminum foil (shiny side inside). Place on the grill and cook for about ten to 12 minutes.

Dice or chop into bite-size pieces and stir fry five to seven minutes in a little extra virgin olive oil with a clove or two of minced garlic and a dash of salt. Or try curry, bok choy and kohlrabi.

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