Consider Kohlrabi for winter salads and roasts
This cold-weather brassica brings freshness to Michigan meals.
While many crops end with the first snowfall, farmer ingenuity and adoption of season extension infrastructure has allowed Michiganders to eat fresh and local even in the winter months! Many farmers markets have transitioned into their winter season, providing farmers a continuing market for their stored or hoophouse-grown produce and providing customers a space to continue supporting their local farms.
Customer desire to continue eating local through the winter has brought a lot of new and interesting vegetables to more consumers’ tables – including kohlrabi! While this alien-looking bulb may seem daunting, kohlrabi is a versatile veggie available throughout the winter. Kohlrabi is a relative of other brassicas like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, and gets sweeter with cooler temperatures. While most harvests of kohlrabi finish before November, storage in root cellars and other controlled climate storage rooms keep kohlrabi available throughout the winter. Kohlrabi has a round, knobby, bulbous base and can be purple or green in color, with a pale greenish-white interior. While the leaves are also edible and a great substitute for hearty leafy greens, like kale or collards, most consume the crunchy interior of the bulb.
As a member of the brassica family, kohlrabi is similar to cabbage or turnips in taste but has a milder, sweeter flavor. Its texture more closely resembles that of a fresh, crisp apple, with a firm and crunchy texture that is great raw, sliced in salads or shredded into slaws. You could also slice kohlrabi thinly and use it alongside carrot sticks to dip in your favorite spread. Kohlrabi makes a great addition to any fall veggie roast as well, with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and mixed with your other favorite root vegetables, it becomes a hearty and nutritious side dish.
To prepare kohlrabi, most people peel off the coarser, outer layer before slicing into the sweet but peppery interior. Kohlrabi should be firm to the touch, and will start to go soft and hollow out the longer it is stored in unideal conditions. Kohlrabi is an excellent source of Vitamin C and Potassium. The Michigan State University Extension’s Michigan Fresh program has tips on growing, handling and preserving Michigan grown produce. Check out the Michigan Fresh Kohlrabi Fact Sheet for more tips on using, storing, and preserving Kohlrabi, and try this tasty recipe for a healthy kohlrabi-apple slaw and fall in love with this versatile veggie!
Quick and Easy Kohlrabi Slaw
- 3 Michigan medium kohlrabi bulbs or 1 extra large (roughly 2 lbs)
- 3 Michigan apples
- 1 medium Michigan red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger (optional)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Prepare the kohlrabi by cutting the tough root end off and peeling off the outer layer
2. Shred kohlrabi and apple and mix with red onion
3. Mix dressing ingredients in jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously to mix.
4. Add dressing to slaw ingredients and stir until evenly coated