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Apr 06, 2023Apr 06, 2023

By [email protected] | on June 06, 2023

Kohl-Slaw caption: Crisp and colorful, this Kohl-Slaw offers an eye-appealing way to enjoy a delicious and nutritious treat. LAURA KURELLA/photo

Thanks to Mr. Evano, an older gentleman in my childhood neighborhood, kohlrabi has been a favorite of mine for most of my life. Pronounced, "Ca-low-robbie," I can still recall the day he gave me my first bite.

A thin, raw slice lightly salted, impaled on the end of his very sharp knife.

Though afraid of the blade, the alure of the thin slice dripping with its own juices drew me in blindly- by the eyeballs!

Ah, how I thoroughly enjoyed its mild, mellow flavor, and its wet, crisp crunch. A memory I still savor to this day.

"Kohlrabi is very special." Mr. Evano said. "It takes the entire plant to make just one globe, so you have to savor every single bite."

Mr. Evano was right. Kohlrabi is not only special, it's easy fall in love with, too.

According to historical records, European nobles and peasants alike favored kohlrabi. Even Charlemagne was crazy about it. Crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 800 AD, he ordered kohlrabi to be grown in all the lands under his reign.

German for "cabbage turnip," kohlrabi found its way into Northern India in the 1600's where Hindus considered it an important staple of their diet, along with rice and greens.

More recently, this unassuming vegetable found its way into the cuisines of Israel, China and Africa.

While kohlrabi has been used throughout Italy, France and Germany from Charlemagne's era up to the present, Americans have never given it much notice, with the exception of Hamburg Township, Michigan. A place that has titled itself the "Kohlrabi Capital of the World." I kid you not!

For those unfamiliar with this gem of a vegetable, its appearance somewhat resembles a turnip. However, its flavor is mild and delicately sweet, and its texture crisp and moist.

There are several varieties, including White Vienna, Purple Vienna, Grand Duke, Gigante (also known as "Superschmeltz"), Purple Danube, and White Danube.

Of these varieties, purple varieties are considered sweeter than green.

While the entire vegetable is edible, raw or cooked, small, younger kohlrabi – about 1 1/2″ to 2″ in diameter – are considered to be the finest in flavor and texture.

As kohlrabi matures, it tends to get woody, dry and fibrous, which is why small-sized kohlrabi, no larger than 2 1/2″ inches diameter, are preferred.

Look for kohlrabi with greens still attached and with leaves that are fresh, deep green.

While kohlrabi does store well,up to one month refrigerated, yellow leaves indicate it is not fresh.

Kohlrabi stems and leaves also offer a mild flavor that goes well when chopped into raw salads or sautéed and served anywhere other greens bode well.

Here now are some quick kohlrabi recipes that just may have you fall in love with it, too- ENJOY!

Laura Kurella is an award-winning recipe developer, syndicated food columnist, home cook, and lifelong resident of the Midwest Great Lakes Region. She welcomes your comments at [email protected].

Kohl SlawA nice salad that goes well with fish

• 2 small kohlrabis• 1 cup radishes• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar• 1 teaspoon sugar• 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped• 2 tablespoons olive oil

Peel two small kohlrabis. Shred the kohlrabi and radishes. You may use a foodprocessor for this. I hand grate using a cheese grater. Mix 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1teaspoon sugar and 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley in a glass bowl. Whiskin 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add shredded veggies and toss. Chill for 30 minutes ormore. Servings per recipe: 2.

Crisp Kohlrabi

• 1 kohlrabi• 1/4 cup lemon juice• Unrefined mineral sea salt, to taste

Cut kohlrabi into thin slices and fan across a platter. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over slices and then sprinkle with salt, if desired. Allow to marinate 30 minutes at room temperature before serving. Servings per recipe: 1 to 2

Cheesy Kohlrabi

• 4 kohlrabi globes• Water• Salt• 2 tablespoons butter• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour• 1 cup milk• 1/4 cup grated American cheese• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Cut tops off and pare thick stems of kohlrabi. Slice stems and place in salted water to cover. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until just tender. Drain well. Boil tender leaves separately until tender; drain.

Chop leaves finely and combine with cooked stems. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Add flour and stir well until smooth and blended. Gradually add milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and sauce is thick. Add cooked kohlrabi and cook until hot. Garnish with parsley and nutmeg. Servings per recipe: 4 to 6.

Kohlrabi ‘n’ Carrots

• 1 medium kohlrabi, chopped into 3/4 " cubes

• 4 large carrots cut into 3/4 " cubes

• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

• 1 tablespoon butter

• Salt and pepper, to taste

Cover kohlrabi and carrots with lightly salted water and boil until quite tender, about 15 minutes. Drain then slightly mash, leaving a lot of chunks. Add nutmeg and butter and serve. Servings per recipe: 4.

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