About Kohlrabi - Brassica oleracea gongylodes caulorapa

The Latin name Brassica comes from the Celtic bresic; oleracea refers to a vegetable garden herb that is used in cooking. The term gongylodes means “roundish” or “swollen” while caulorapa means “stem-turnip.” The English name kohlrabi is derived from the Latin words caulis, meaning “stem,” and rapa, meaning “turnip.”

Kohlrabi resembles a root vegetable, but actually the edible globe is the modified swollen stem. The edible leaves jut from the globe portion like sparse hairs on a head, giving it a distinctive look.

Also known as “Turnip Cabbage,” kohlrabi is of European origin, appearing suddenly and without explanation in the middle of the 16th century. It remains very popular in Germany, Russia and Hungary, but it is much less common in America.

There are both green and purple-skinned kohlrabi, and both have creamy whit flesh. It taste is sweet and peppery, like a combination of broccoli and cucumber, with a pleasant crisp texture. The leaves have a flavor similar to collard greens.


Store the kohlrabi globe and leaves in a plastic bag in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator. If stored separately from the leaves, the globe will last up to one month. The leaves should be used as soon as possible.

Preparation Tips

Wash and trim away any woody or tough portions of skin. Peel kohlrabi if your are using it raw, but it does not have to be peeled after cooking.

Slices of raw kohlrabi make a great snack (or eat it like an apple!)

Grate or cut into matchsticks for use in salads.

Steam 1-inch chunks of kohlrabi in a covered steamer basket until easily pierced with a fork, about 16 minutes. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh dill.

Boil chunks of kohlrabi in salted water until tip of a paring knife pierces kohlrabi easily, about 13 minutes.

Microwave small kohlrabi (8 ounce quantities) in tightly sealed measuring cups, 4 to 5 minutes.

Scoop out center of kohlrabi, stuff with desired mixture, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Try thin slices of kohlrabi with your favorite dip.

Sauté grated kohlrabi in butter, adding herbs or curry for extra flavor.

Add to soups, stews, or stir-fries.

Mash and mix with potatoes.

Use leaves like other cooking greens.

Sources: www.foodreference.com; “From Asparagus to Zucchini, A Guide to Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce,” Madison Area CSA Coalition, 2003; and “Vegetable Love,” by Barbara Kafka, Artisan Books, New York, 2005.

Nutrition Facts

Kohlrabi is high in dietary fiber, an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium. A large portion of the calories come from sugars.

(1 cup raw kohlrabi)

Calories 6
Total Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 27mg
Total Carbohydrate 8g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 4g
Protein 2g
Calcium 3% RDA
Iron 3% RDA
Vitamin C 140% RDA

Source: www.nutritiondata.com.