A row of purple kohlrabi

Fact file: kohlrabi

Discover some fascinating facts about this under-appreciated vegetable.

Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes) is a little-known vegetable that’s brimming with culinary possibilities for the health-conscious gardener.

Pronounced coal-rah-bee, it has a crisp but sweet flavour. The outer skin can be green or purple, but peels away easily to reveal dense white flesh.

Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes) is a little-known vegetable that’s brimming with culinary possibilities for the health-conscious gardener.

Advertisement

Pronounced coal-rah-bee, it has a crisp but sweet flavour. The outer skin can be green or purple, but peels away easily to reveal dense white flesh.

You can stir-fry or roast kohlrabi, or use it raw, sliced or grated into salads and coleslaws. The leaves can be used as greens.

Here are some interesting facts about kohlrabi.

Kohlrabi is a little-known vegetable is brimming with culinary possibilities for the health-conscious gardeners.

Did you know?

Kohlrabi is very popular in North India as it works well with traditional Indian spices. It’s identified by its short stem, which swells up into a large sphere that can be cooked or grated raw into salads. The leaves can be treated like spinach and steamed or boiled.

Green kohlrabi harvested into a wooden box
Green kohlrabi harvested into a wooden box

Nutrition

A member of the brassica family, kohlrabi is a good source of dietary fibre, calcium, vitamin C and iron. Filling and high in protein, it can be used in recipes as an alternative to meat.

Purple kohlrabi harvested into a colander
Purple kohlrabi harvested into a colander

Harvest

Harvest when the stems have reached between golf and tennis ball size – any longer and they will become tough and woody. Cut them at the root and remove the oldest leaves to help keep the plant fresh. They can be stored for a short time in the fridge (in a perforated bag) but doesn’t keep well – sow successionally for continuous harvests. Harvest until December, or before if you notice the leaves starting to yellow.

A bunch of freshly harvested purple kohlrabi with roots and soil still attached
A bunch of freshly harvested purple kohlrabi with roots and soil still attached

How to grow

Sow seed in a sunny spot in light, fertile soil, kept moist and weed-free. Faster-growing green varieties can be sown from March to July for early harvests, while the hardier, purple kind can be sown until August, as they can withstand colder temperatures. The plants should be ready to harvest within two to three months. You can also grow kohlrabi in containers.

Advertisement
Kohlrabi growing with basil in a hessian sack container
Kohlrabi growing with basil in a hessian sack container
A bundle of freshly harvested kohlrabi 'Blusta' in a wooden box
A bundle of freshly harvested kohlrabi ‘Blusta’ in a wooden box

Our choices

  • ‘Blusta’ – matures quickly and is less prone to bolting
  • ‘Kolibiri’ – purple skin, white flesh and resistance to woodiness
  • ‘Winner’ – fast grower

Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes) is a little-known vegetable that’s brimming with culinary possibilities for the health-conscious gardener.

Pronounced coal-rah-bee, it has a crisp but sweet flavour. The outer skin can be green or purple, but peels away easily to reveal dense white flesh.

This is Secret Garden content

This content is exclusive to subscribers. If you are not a subscriber you can access this content by subscribing to Gardeners' World.

Unlock now