King Kohl

This year I planted  kohl rabi for the very first time.  Because of the terracing work that we are doing on our sloping garden I have even less space to play with than usual.  I decided that cabbages, which can take up quite a bit of room, were the crop we could most manage without.  But then, as happens to me quite a lot, a packet of seeds caught my eye!  It was a red variety of kohl rabi, ‘Purle Vienna’.  You can also get a pale green kind.  I’d never grown it before, let alone eat it.  The little red swollen roots with leaf shoots sticking out all over look like the angry heads of  a particularly savage scalping!  But I’m going to be growing this member of the brassica family a lot more now that I’ve discovered what a fantastic and versatile crop it is.

My kohl rabi sitting pretty amongst lettuce and rocket.

Besides looking unusual and adding welcome colour to the veg patch this crop is easy, easy, EASY to germinate and grow.  I sowed straight into the ground and thinned out as they got bigger.  Kohl rabi matures quickly and this has many advantages not least that you get something to eat early on in the season.  But it also means it lends itself to several successional sowings and is less prone to disease and pest infestation simply because it’s not in the ground for so long.  I’ve found I’m not worrying about cabbage whites laying their eggs.  While the leaves are perfectly edible, I’ve sliced some into a noodle soup, it those swollen roots below you are after so I don’t feel too worried if the odd leaf is home to a caterpillar, they’re not going to burrow their way through to the heart.

Kohl rabi tastes pretty good too, raw or cooked, it has a mild cabbage-like flavour.  I’ve used both leaves and roots in soups.  I’ve grated roots into coleslaw type salads.  My next experiment will be to make something akin to an Indian aloo-gobi type dish.  I’ve decided I really like discovering the more unusual veg that can’t be found on supermarket shelves, it encourages you to experiment and try things out.  I’m determined to try more and more unusual things,  vegetables that make the best of the resources I have.  Kohl rabi fits the bill perfectly and sustainable living gets to be more fun by the day!

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1 comment to King Kohl

  • Never tried growing this but now that I’ve read this I might have a go next year. It looks really funky and I’m all for things where you can eat the whole plant.

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