By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
It's a vegetable that's unlikely to be on the top of most people's shopping list, but then again neither was kale until a couple of years ago when it screamed up to the top of the produce charts where it's remained ever since.
Kohlrabi is a rather misunderstood vegetable; it doesn't looks very nice despite its attractive purple colour and most people, if you asked them, wouldn't know what to do with it. That may all be about to change because when we look at the numbers kohlrabi punches well beyond its weight in the nutritional stakes, and take it from us, it tastes good too.
When we think potassium most people think of bananas: Kohlrabi has more potassium per 100 g than bananas. Potassium is an important nutrient and works alongside sodium to regulate fluid exchange in and out of body cells. Typically modern diets are higher in sodium than potassium which leads to high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. By increasing the amount of potassium in our diet through an increased consumption of fresh vegetables we can reduce high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis by preventing loss of calcium from the bones.
When we think vitamin C we think of oranges, yet kohlrabi has more vitamin C than oranges. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant known as the anti-aging nutrient. It's helps to strengthen collagen in our skin, keeping is supple and strong and it helps strengthen the immune system. A cup of raw, fresh kohlrabi can provide you with approximately 140 % of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C. A strong immune system is very important in fighting off all kinds of diseases. Vitamin C plays a vital role in strengthening your immune system and protects your body from various diseases- from the common cold to the more dangerous heart diseases and cancer.
Speaking of strengthen the immune system, something we all want to do around this time of year when people are at a greater risk of catching colds and flues, Kohlrabi, like other cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage, is rich in glutamine which can help to remove waste products from the liver and help to boost your immune function. Glutamine is available as a supplement however one wonders why anyone would want to spend a lot of money on a single nutrient when you can get a multi - nutrient in the form of whole food? It costs much less and tastes much nice to boot.
And then there's fibre: Kohlrabi has loads of that too which means it's another probiotic used to feed the gut bacteria in our large intestine. Fibre is essential for good digestion helping to eliminate waste products from the digestive tract and reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
All of this is of no use unless you know what to do with it and you can be forgiven for being confused. The good news is that aside from the root, which you won't see unless you've grown them at home. it's all edible. Described as a "super stem," the kohlrabi seed grows into green stems before a bulb forms at the bottom of the stem, above the ground. Both the bulb, stems and leaves are edible. The kohlrabi bulb tastes similar to, but slightly sweeter than, broccoli stems and has a texture similar to turnip. Kohlrabi leaves can be served raw or cooked and how you cook them is limited only by your imagination. The leaves can be cooked like spinach, kale or collard greens.
How to select?
Like fennel, the smaller kohlrabi bulbs are more tender than large bulbs which can become tough and woody. Larger bulbs are better peeled and baked, while the smaller younger bulbs are delicious sliced into salads or grated into coleslaw.
If you have a recipe using kohlrabi please share it with us as we're sure it's
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