Kohlrabi, a member of the brassicaceae (cabbage) family, looks like a turnip growing above ground with leaves sprouting from its side. It actually is the enlarged portion of the stem. First grown in Europe around 1500 and introduced to America around 1800.
Growing: Plant in full sun, in fertile well drained soil high in organic matter, pH 6.0 – 7.5. Direct sow in garden in early spring. Sow seeds about ¼ inch deep, in rows about 12 inches apart. Thin seedlings to about 6 inches apart (thinnings can be transplanted).
I prefer to start seeds in cell pack and transplant to the garden. (I start my seeds indoors around end of March/early April and transplant to garden around early May).
This year I am experimenting with a fall planting. Started my seeds in cell pack end of June, bumped up into 3-inch pots mid-July, will transplant end of this month when garden space becomes available. Started a 2nd set of seeds on July 23 (I may be a week too late) will see what results I get.
A heavy feeder, kohlrabi requires plentiful consistent moisture for rapid growth and best quality.
There are 2 varieties – white and purple, with maturing dates ranging from 38 – 62 days. Choose a variety best suited for your location and needs. Grows well in container. Its appearance, especially the purple variety, is a show stopper in the ornamental gardens.
For more cultivating information, click here to go to Cornell University Gardening Resources.
Harvesting: Harvest when swollen stem is about 2 – 3 inches in diameter (use this as a guide) or as per package directions.
Cooked – use alone or combined with other vegetables, with or without meat, poultry or seafood, in stir-fry, soup, stew. Toss with oil, salt and pepper to taste and roast in oven, alone or combined with carrots, potatoes …..
Uncooked – add to salad, use as cabbage substitute in slaw …
Shrimp Kohlrabi & Broccoli Stir-fry
1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and pat dry with clean paper towels (this is an important step) (I only had jumbo shrimp in my freezer so I split each in half, lengthwise) (see how to below)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce or regular (light color) soy sauce
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon Asia chili sauce or to taste
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
Combine all the above well. Can be done the day before and kept refrigerated.
1 – 2 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into about ¼ inch thick bite-sized slices
½ pound broccoli florets cut into smaller florets
Few slices of carrots for color (See below for Making Carrots Flowers)
1 – 2 shallots, peeled and minced
1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
2 – 3 tablespoons oil
½ – ¾ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons broth or water. Stir well before adding to wok or frying pan.
1. In a preheated wok or frying pan add 1 tablespoon oil. Add salt, kohlrabi, broccoli and carrots. Stir-fry until broccoli turns a bright green color. Remove to a clean platter.
2. Add remaining oil to wok or frying pan, add shallots and garlic, stir-fry until both are translucent. Add shrimp. Stir fry until shrimp changes color.
3. Add veggies to shrimp and additional broth for gravy. Thicken with cornstarch mixture. Adjust taste. Serve hot over cooked rice or pasta.
How to split shrimp in half lengthwise:
After deveining shrimp, cut along the back (like you are butterflying) all the way through making 2 lengthwise halves. After cooking, the split shrimp curls into a very cute shape and the texture is very nice. When a recipe calls for small or medium shrimp, I prefer to use larger shrimp and split them in half lengthwise, much better taste and texture.
Making Carrot Flowers
1. Using paring knife, make 5 “V’s” along the length of the carrot (I like 5 petals on my flowers)
2. Still using paring knife, round off the edges of the “V’s” (optional).
3. Using slicing knife, slice carved carrot into desired thickness slices.
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