Kohlrabi is a tasty vegetable that you can eat either raw or cooked. It's loaded with antioxidants, it's a good source of fiber, and its high vitamin C content helps protect cells from free radicals that can damage the body and cause disease. Kohlrabi is also rich in essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium.
A Healthy and Flavorful Vegetable
An unusual looking vegetable, kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family, and although it's round like a turnip, it's not of the same species. In fact, kohlrabi isn't a root vegetable at all; it grows above ground with long edible leaves sprouting from the top. Its flavor is delicately sweet, and its texture is moist, yet crisp. Kohlrabi tastes mildly like broccoli with just a hint of cabbage.
As a remarkable source of vitamin C (one serving fulfills 149 percent of the recommended daily allowance), kohlrabi helps your body absorb iron. Iron improves oxygen levels in red blood cells, which increases energy. A half-cup of kohlrabi offers 245 grams of potassium, 25 I.U. of vitamin A, 43.4 milligrams of vitamin C, 11.3 micrograms of folic acid, 16.8 mg of calcium and about 10 mg of choline. It's a low-fat vegetable with only 19 calories in a half-cup serving that provides a healthy 23 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 1.5 grams of protein.
How to Shop for Kohlrabi
You can find two varieties of kohlrabi: the sweeter purple variety and the apple-green. Select smaller vegetables that are 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter, because they're sweeter and more tender. Large kohlrabi can have a tough skin and should be peeled before eating. Kohlrabi is available year-round, although it's more plentiful in the spring and summer, which is when its flavor will be sweeter. Select kohlrabi with green leaves without any yellowing.
How to Prepare Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi stores well and can be refrigerated for up to a month. If using it raw in a salad, you can chop both the orb and the leaves and add to lettuce or other greens for a nutritious cold dish. You can steam kohlrabi in a small amount of water, then lightly salt it to bring out its delicate flavor. Even the leaves can be steamed like spinach. Diced or chopped kohlrabi makes a flavorful addition to any stir-fry. Lightly cooked, it will retain its crisp texture.
Eating vegetables like kohlrabi that are rich in vitamin C help support the structure of capillaries and benefit your body's skeletal, lymphatic and digestive systems. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause easy bruising and scurvy. The high potassium content of kohlrabi reduces your risk of kidney stones and lowers your blood pressure.