Earlier this week, a friend who grows organic vegetables to sell needed to know if it was safe for her dog to eat kohlrabi. I think the answer was “all things in moderation,” but it left me wondering how a gourmet vegetable like kohlrabi can end up in the dog dish. Time for a few top kohlrabi recipes, plus practical advice on storing and cooking this summer’s crop of kohlrabi.
I covered the basics of growing kohlrabi in 2011, and many of you have since contributed to a lively comments/troublehooting thread. So let’s assume you’ve got it right, and you have ten rather than two beautiful kohlrabi. What to do now?
Using Fresh Kohlrabi
Trimmed kohlrabi stored in the refrigerator in plastic bags will keep for up to three months, so there is no hurry to use them up. Use your kohlrabi in place of carrots or celery in raw dishes that need crunch.
The top leaves of kohlrabi make convenient carrying handles, but they must be removed to prevent moisture loss from the bulbs (actually swollen stems). Use a sharp knife to lop leaves from kohlrabi to be stored in the fridge. As for kohlrabi you plan to eat today, pulling the leaves off will remove some peeling, which means less knife work for you.
Try raw recipes. As long as you peel it first, kohlrabi need only be sliced, cut, or grated to make it ready for the table. Kohlrabi sticks are ideal for dipping, and kohlrabi slaw can be adapted to endless flavor profiles, from apples and dill to sesame, soy and ginger.
Make kohlrabi fries. This versatile recipe can be eaten raw, or you can cook the pieces in a hot oven or pan fry them in a little oil. When the spice mix includes a dollop of spicy mustard, it is called Disappearing Kohlrabi.
- Cut kohlrabi into thick sticks and place in a bowl.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, an optional fine grate of garlic, and a moderate drizzle of olive or sesame oil. Toss well.
- To cook the kohlrabi fries, add 1 tablespoon of flour to the mix to impart added crispiness. Pan fry in a little oil in a skillet, about 3 minutes per side, turning the pieces with tongs, or roast them in a hot, 400°F (205°C) oven for 20 minutes, turning twice for even browning.
Cook them like potatoes. My last crop of home grown potatoes has been eaten or planted, but I miss them less with kohlrabi around. Roasted, mashed or chunked into soup or casserole, kohlrabi makes an interesting potato alternative.
I have had seasons when the refrigerator got so full that I blanched and froze packets of kohlrabi. These turned out to be real treats because kohlrabi does an above average job of retaining its firm texture when frozen.
Kohlrabi is easy to pickle in a vinegar brine, just like cucumbers. Vinegar-brined kohlrabi pickles are great, but they come nowhere close to the fermented version, which you can make in a week using the methods discussed in How to Ferment Garden Vegetables. Fermented kohlrabi sticks are addictively good, and grated kohlrabi makes a mean kraut or kimchi.
As for my friend, I suspect her dog was not after the kohlrabi fries or ferments, but simply did what many dogs do with kohlrabi – mistook one for a play ball and refused to give it up. After all, they roll.