Kohlrabi, or German turnip, has travelled the world and made it into gardens worldwide. This strange amalgamation of a cabbage (‘Kohl’) and turnip (‘Rabi’) has a taste, unlike its namesakes that can be consumed raw or cooked to perfection. It is available year-round and is relatively easy to grow at home.
Introduction to Kohlrabi
This versatile crop is easy to grow and wonderfully weird. As a member of the Brassica family, it is high in Vitamin C and stores for a prolonged period. Not to mention the short time-to-harvest (50-80 days) compared to cabbage (80-180 days) and broccoli (100-150 days).
Some tips on growing kohlrabi:
- Provinces with only a first (Feb-April) sowing: Midveld, Lowveld, KZN Coast.
- Provinces with a second (Aug-Sept) sowing: Northern Cape, KZN Midlands, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Highveld.
- The germination rate increases up to a soil temperature of ~25C.
- Beware: Kohlrabi can dry out quickly as it sits on top of the soil. Keep a keen eye on watering and use good quality mulch.
Recipes 1 | Winter Pan-fried Kohlrabi
When baked or fried kohlrabi takes on a texture similar to potatoes. This is a delicious warm snack for winter on the couch or as a side dish.
- Coconut oil
- 500g Kohlrabi
- 1 tsp Garlic flakes
- Pinch Chilli flakes
- Pinch Salt
- Pinch Pepper
- Pinch Roasted paprika
*The spices can be replaced by a rub or mix of your choosing. I would recommend the following alternatives:
Fynbos Smotherings of Africa with Smoked Paprika from Fynbos foods.
Simple Truth Greek Garlic & Herb Rub.
Slice the Kohlrabi into bite-sized fries. If you opted to create your own rub, collect all the spices and add them into a separate bowl. Mix thoroughly before rubbing into sliced kohlrabi (ensure even distribution). Heat up the frying pan and melt a tablespoon of coconut oil to coat the pan.
Add the kohlrabi and make sure to seer on all sides. Turn the heat to medium and stir continuously for roughly 15-25 min (this will depend on the size of the fries). The outside should take on a golden brown colour with a soft interior. Serve warm with salsa or sauce of your choosing.
Recipe 2 | Summer Kohlrabi salad
Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked and makes for a wonderful summer salad.
- 500g Kohlrabi
- 1 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup pecan nuts
- 1/2 cup Cranberries
- 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
Remove the outer layer from each kohlrabi and use a peeler to slice off long peels for the salad. Add all the peels to a bowl along with the apple cider vinegar and toss the salad to ensure an even coating. Add the nuts and berries and garnish with a sprig of your favourite herb.