Has anybody heard of a strange plant that looks like cabbage when planted, grows like cauliflower, enlarges its stem like a pineapple and then the stem becomes the edible part? Known as kohlrabi, turnip cabbage, German turnip and knol khol, it is a winter vegetable that can be grown in flowerpots and growbags.
Kohlrabi belongs to Brassica oleracea plant family. The plant is widely cultivated in Germany and USA. However, it is rather new to our kitchen. There are many varieties of Kohlrabi such as White Vienna, Purple Vienna, Grand Duke, Gigante, Purple Danube and White Danube.
The plant resembles cauliflower as it grows. But its stem above the ground gets enlarged like a ball gradually. When the leaf of cabbage and flower of cauliflower are their edible parts, the enlarged stem is the edible part of Kohlrabi.
Harvest season lasts for two months. Kohlrabi should be harvested before they mature. If not, there will be more fibres on the stem. Once fully grown, the round shaped stem will grow like a ball with a diameter of upto 5-8 cm.
Harvested kohlrabi can be eaten fried or cooked with masala. Unlike, cauliflower, kohlrabi is nutritious. Containing less fat, it is a nutritious item to be included in the diet.
It is rich in fibres, carbohydrate, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, calcium, potassium, sodium and phosphorous.
Rot disease and attack of worms are the major threat faced by kohlrabi farmers. Pseudomonas solution can be applied to treat rot disease and neem seed oil solution to prevent worm attack. Tobacco decoction and chilli-garlic solution also are effective.