Kohlrabi, healthy tuber and leafy vegetable

Kohlrabi is a direct relative of broccoli and kale. It is a variant of the Brassica oleracea. Kohlrabi is actually just a type of cabbage. The vegetable probably originally comes from Northern Europe. In the Netherlands it is grown sparsely; In Germany there is a fairly large scale cultivation of this plant. Various types of kohlrabi are grown in Germany; 30 of these are white kohlrabi and 14 are purple kohlrabi. Both the tuber and the leaves of kohlrabi are edible. By the way, the tuber is not a real tuber in the classical sense; it does not grow underground. The kohlrabi tuber is a thickening of the stem. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Purple kohlrabi / Source: Barbara Wells, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-2.0)


  • Kohlrabi is not a turnip
  • Kohlrabi history
  • Kohlrabi nutrients
  • Kohlrabi leaves
  • Growing spring kohlrabi
  • Kohlrabi eating tips


Kohlrabi is not a turnip

Kohlrabi tastes a little bit like turnip. The plants are clearly different from each other. Turnip is a real root vegetable, but kohlrabi is a cabbage plant with a thickened stem in the tuber shape. Kohlrabi was first described in 1554; that is quite late because the lion’s share of all other vegetables and herbs have already been described in ancient times.

Kohlrabi history

It is said that kohlrabi probably comes from Northern Europe, but that is not certain. He might as well come from Asia or the Mediterranean. Kohlrabi is also commonly eaten in Kashmir and India where it is called knolkohl. That word is most likely of Dutch origin. The fact that there is no Indian word for the vegetable kohlrabi in India is an indication that this vegetable comes from Europe. The fact is that the first kohlrabi with tuberous shapes was drawn in the 18th century; that’s quite late. Yet the vegetable was known in Europe before. The plant was most likely eaten by the ancient Romans. Charlemagne ordered

Kohlrabi cultivation in India / Source: Rameshng, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

to grow the plant in the vegetable gardens of Europe. From the 17th century, kohlrabi was a widely cultivated food crop in India. It is believed that kohlrabi was domesticated and cultivated in the century before it was first drawn, while previously the plant was only eaten for its leaves. On the other hand, it is possible that the plant has always been eaten including its tuberous stem.

Kohlrabi nutrients

Kohlrabi contains little energy. It is therefore an excellent vegetable to eat if you want to lose weight. By the way, all vegetables are good for losing weight as they contain fiber; The combination of fiber and calories prevents the body from gaining weight, according to recent research. It also contains several vitamins and minerals. The most important vitamins are vitamin A, B1, B2, B3 and C. 100 Grams of kohlrabi provides 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin C. In terms of minerals, kohlrabi is rich in potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron and magnesium . Of course, it also contains phytonutrients; especially malic acid and citric acid. Kohlrabi also contains isothiocyanates, sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. These substances are known to have a preventive effect against prostate and colon cancer.

In English, kohlrabi is referred to by the German word kohlrabi.


Kohlrabi leaves

The kohlrabi leaves contain the same nutrients but in higher density. Kohlrabi leaves contain compared to the

Kohlrabi / Source: Emoke Denes, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-4.0)

tuber twice as much vitamin C, 10 times as much iron and no less than 100 times as much vitamin A. In the Netherlands, kohlrabi leaves are sometimes thrown away, but that is actually a shame. Kohlrabi leaves can be prepared in the same way as kale, or you can use them as an alternative salad leaves.

Kohlrabi is grown in greenhouses in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. This means that kohlrabi can also be eaten fresh in winter.


Growing spring kohlrabi

You can easily grow kohlrabi yourself. Don’t grow too much of it, though; as a food, it can become boring after a few days if, for example, you have harvested 40 kohlrabi tubers. Instead of harvesting the plant when it is mature, you can also grow a spring kohlrabi yourself. You can place the seeds closer together; about 3 cm apart. You plant the seeds 4 weeks before the thaw normally occurs; In the Netherlands you can plant them from the end of February. When the seedlings are about 6 cm high you can plant them out; approximately 6 cm apart. At one point the tuber is about 4 cm thick; then you can harvest them as spring kohlrabi. Remove the leaves so that the tuber can be kept in the refrigerator for a few weeks. You can prepare the leaves separately in a salad or stir-fry.

Kohlrabi eating tips

Kohlrabi can be used to make a puree. You can also stir fry the pieces. In France, parts of kohlrabi are pickled together with sauerkraut. The leaves of kohlrabi can be used raw as salad vegetables. You can also cut kohlrabi into slices for grilling. Kohlrabi tastes delicious with a dill sauce. You can use the tuber just like the leaves for a salad. You can also cut the tuber thinly and fry it with potatoes, an onion, some garlic and peppers.

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