Thursday, July 7, 2011
Name This Plant: Kohlrabi
Congrats to Venkat on the blog and blueBear71 on flickr for correctly naming this plant Kohlrabi.
This strange, alien-like plant is actually a cabbage. According to Wikipedia, it "is a low, stout cultivar of the cabbage that will grow almost anywhere. The name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus Rübe ~ Rabi (Swiss German variant) ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter. Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem 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."
That was a total surprise to me. I assumed it was a type of turnip or root vegetable, but that main, purple section you see here does not grow underground.
We were first introduced to kohlrabi by our CSA (community-supported agriculture), Stranger's Hill. The first batch were green, but all subsequent batches were purple. The CSA rep at the farmers' market claimed they were like cucumbers (or at least people used them in a similar manner). Wikipedia and I do not agree. I describe them more like a potato and an onion hybrid in flavor and a potato or turnip in consistency. We have had them raw on salads (per the cucumber comparison) and cooked in stir fry and other dishes. Personally, I prefer it cooked.
There is one thing for sure: They are strange looking.
Hopefully our CSA continues to introduce us to new plants and I can share them with you in the future.
P.S. The leaves are edible too, obviously, they are cabbage (look a little like kale to me).
Posted by Sara