A Little History
No one knows the exact origin of the kohlrabi. It's first mentioned in the early 1st century by the naturalist Pliny the Elder, who lived and wrote during the Roman Empire. It was also mentioned in recipes compiled in later Roman times in one of the first cookbooks known as Apicius. From the early Roman Empire the kohlrabi spread to India and Europe along trade routes. By the 17th century it had become a staple food.
The kohlrabi found its way to Africa, East Asia and China, probably via trade routes, and by the 1800’s was a part of the diet of many Europeans. It is believed to have found its way to Europe during the reign of Charlemagne, who is thought to have had it grown in his Imperial Gardens.
Today kohlrabi can be found throughout the world. It’s especially popular in Europe and the East, and is often used raw in salads and for dips. Kohlrabi was first grown in the US in 1806. It’s not always easy to find in the northern US, but is popular in the southern states.
All of this vegetable is used, from its leaves to the vegetable itself. Though it looks like a root veggie, it’s actually a tuber that like the cabbage grows above ground. The kohlrabi is a member of the Brassica genus, which includes the cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower, kale, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
It resembles the cabbage on the outside, and its name is derived from a German word which means ‘cabbage turnip.’
The kohlrabi’s exterior can be green, purple or white, with an interior that is white and fleshy in texture. It’s often boiled like the turnip, but is just as often eaten raw due to its mustardy, sweet flavor. Kohlrabi is also used for creamy soups or hollowed out, stuffed and baked.
Kohlrabi is low in calories and high in fiber. It has a wealth of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and carotenoids. This vegetable is also extremely high in antioxidants that protect us from diseases.
The kohlrabi is rich in vitamins K, A, C and B. It is particularly high in the minerals potassium, copper, iron, calcium, phosphorus and manganese.
Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting. It also helps lessen pain during the menstrual cycle and assists in reducing the development of osteoporosis.
We need vitamin A to maintain a healthy immune system, good vision and the growth of our cells. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges free radicals from our bodies and helps slow the aging process. It also bolsters our immune systems, prevents disease and infections, protects against problems during pregnancy and helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
The B-complex vitamins are essential for a healthy nervous system, for digestive health, and for the synthesis of protein, carbohydrates and fats. They help keep our skin, hair and nails healthy, and are necessary for the proper formation of our RNA and DNA.
Potassium is one of seven essential minerals necessary for heart health, and protects us from stroke, high blood pressure, as well as helping to preserve and protect muscle mass and bone density. It also helps protect against the development of kidney stones.
Calcium is necessary for the development and strength of our bones and teeth.
Phosphorus is part of the bone development process and works in conjunction with calcium. It is also necessary for the production of energy, aids in the health of our nervous system, and may even protect us from certain cancers.
Iron is essential for the healthy production of blood cells, provides energy, improves athletic performance, and assists in strengthening our immune systems. Copper helps avoid the development of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis or brittle bones, and is necessary to the prevention of anemia. We need manganese for the synthesis of protein, carbohydrates and cholesterol, and because it plays an essential part of a myriad of chemical processes in our bodies. Manganese may also play an important role in the formation of our bones.
So consider adding kohlrabi the next time you juice or make a smoothie.
- Serves 1 juice or 2 smoothies
- 2 Apples
- 2 Carrots
- 1/2 Kohlrabi
- 3-4 leaves of your favorite green such as Kale,Spinach or my favorite,Wheatgrass
- 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite seeds or nuts such as Pumpkin,Walnut,Sesame orAlmond
- For a delicious smoothie add 1-2 cups of your favorite milk such as Oat,Rice,Almond or dairy