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This wonderful plant seems to be ignored by gardeners and home cooks, but it can be a big hit at the evening meal.
Kohlrabi does well in the Houston garden during our winter. After the freezes this past weekend, I found my kohlrabi standing tall, enjoying the cold. (My wife says that this is my season, because I love the cold so much). I did not plant too many of these plants this year. In fact, I have not planted them for some time.
I harvested half of my kohlrabi plants this week. I like having this vegetable on my winter table. I have experienced a problem lately with the children though. I can remember some mothers who came up to me at Whole Foods, amazed that my son was eating vegetables instead of junk food. How did I do it? Simple, I did not buy junk food. Now my life has changed. My son is a teenager, and my little daughters spend time with their cousins; their peers have been influencing them. On the positive side, they still eat a larger variety of foods than many others. They all enjoy going to the various farmer’s markets (in the freezing cold morning, I went to the market at Rice University on Saturday. The vendors were glad to see me, but all of them asked where are the girls, instead of greeting me- they are loved).
I love root vegetables, so I have been serving them since they are in season. Turnips did not go down well. When the kids saw the kohlrabi, they had a flashback, and they refused to touch them. Once my son tasted one, he was pleasantly surprised, and they have asked for more. I am going to see if I can find them- well, I know that Canino’s has them on hand. It appears that kohlrabi will be on the table again soon.
Preparation: you can eat the leaves of kohlrabi. They are tough, so you do need to cook them for some time to soften them up- think of using them like cabbage, with maybe a little bit longer cooking time. As for the base, you will have to peel it. As a note, kohlrabi is not a root vegetable. This bulge occurs in the stem above the ground. Because of this bulge, kohlrabi is frequently referred to as the space ship plant. I find that the skin can be hard to peel, similar to broccoli stems. Peelers can work, but I take my chef’s knife to cut off the skin. The softer center can be prepared like any root vegetable. Since I was roasting a chicken, I sliced the kohlrabi into quarter inch wedges. Lightly slated and oiled them on a baking sheet. Once they had browned (about a half hour at 350F), I took them out. I sprinkled some flavored vinegar on them for serving. I have boiled them, and used them in stir fry dishes. What surprises my kids is the fact that kohlrabi can have a sweet flavor, particularly when roasted.
Herbs which go with kohlrabi: I have had luck with basil (if my basil lasts into this season); caraway; chives; rosemary; marjoram; oregano; parsley; and thyme. I think that dill or fennel go well too.