Kohlrabi (from the German for cabbage turnip; Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group), also called German turnip, is a biennial vegetable, a low, stout cultivar of wild cabbage. It is another cultivar of the same species as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, Savoy cabbage, and gai lan.
Kohlrabi stem with leaves
|Cultivar group||Gongylodes Group|
|Cultivar group members||Many; see text.|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Dietary fiber||3.6 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
The name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus Rübe ~ Rabi (Swiss German variant) ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter. Kohlrabi is a commonly eaten vegetable in German-speaking countries and American states with large ancestral German populations such as Minnesota.
In the northern part of Vietnam, it is called su hào, and in eastern parts of India (West Bengal) and Bangladesh where it is called 'ol kopi'. It is also found in the Kashmir Valley in Northern India and is there known as 'monj-hakh', 'monj' being the round part, and 'hakh' being the leafy part. It is called 'nol khol' in Northern India, 'navalkol' in Maharashtra, knolkhol (நோல்கோல்) in Tamil, 'nool kol' in Telugu Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, 'navilu kosu' in Karnataka and in Sri Lanka as 'knol khol' (turnip cabbage). It is also native in Cyprus, where it is known as 'kouloumpra' (κουλούμπρα). It is eaten in the Czech Republic under name 'kedlubna', while in Slovakia it is known as 'kaleráb'. In Romania, it is the 'gulie'.
The first European written record is by the botanist Mattioli in 1554 who wrote that it had “come lately into Italy”. By the end of the 16th century, kohlrabi was being grown in Austria, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Tripoli and parts of the eastern Mediterranean.
Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem growth (a swollen, nearly spherical shape); its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts: they are all bred from, and are the same species as, the wild cabbage plant (Brassica oleracea).
The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.
Except for the Gigante cultivar, spring-grown kohlrabi much over 5 cm in size tend to be woody, as do full-grown kohlrabi much over perhaps 10 cm in size; the Gigante cultivar can achieve great size while remaining of good eating quality. The plant matures in 55–60 days after sowing and has good standing ability for up to 30 days after maturity. The approximate weight is 150 g. It grows well in hydroponic systems, producing a large edible bulk without clogging the nutrient troughs.
There are several varieties commonly available, including 'White Vienna', 'Purple Vienna', 'Grand Duke', 'Gigante' (also known as "Superschmelz"), 'Purple Danube', and 'White Danube'. Coloration of the purple types is superficial: the edible parts are all pale yellow. The leafy greens can also be eaten. One commonly used variety grows without a swollen stem, having just leaves and a very thin stem, and is called Haakh. Haakh and Monj are popular Kashmiri dishes made using this vegetable. In the second year, the plant will bloom and develop seeds.
Preparation and useEdit
Kohlrabi stems (the enlarged vegetal part) are surrounded by two distinct fibrous layers that do not soften appreciably when cooked. These layers are generally peeled away prior to cooking or serving raw, with the result that the stems often provide a smaller amount of food than one might assume from their intact appearance.
The bulbous kohlrabi stem is frequently used raw in salad or slaws. It has a texture similar to that of a broccoli stem, but with a flavor that is sweeter and less vegetal.
Kohlrabi is an important part of the Kashmiri cuisine where it is called Mŏnji and is one of the most commonly cooked vegetable along with collard greens (haakh). It is prepared with its leaves and served with a light soup and eaten with rice.
In Cyprus it is popularly sprinkled with salt and lemon and served as an appetizer.
- "Vegetable Dictionary - Kohlrabi". extension.illinois.edu. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
- Stearn, William Thomas (1983). Botanical Latin. 275. David & Charles. ISBN 978-0-7153-8548-7.
gongylodes / gongyloides: roundish [also p. 323, Gongylodes (Knob-like): having an irregular roundish figure
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- Bailey, L. H., (1912, republished in 1975). Kohlrabi for stock-feeding. In Cyclopedia of American Agriculture: Vol. II--crops. Macmillan Publishing, New York. p. 389-390. ISBN 0-405-06762-3. Google Book Search. Retrieved on June 15, 2008.
Media related to Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes at Wikimedia Commons