Kohlrabi: The German Turnip

By Olivia Hitchcock, CG Lifestyles & People

Kohlrabi. Public Use Image.

Isothiocyanates, sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol are just a few of the healthy phytochemicals contained in kohlrabi. But what does that actually mean?

The challenging terminology associated with kohlrabi was not added until recently, but its benefits have been known for thousands of years. The German turnip was grown throughout the Roman Empire, and even made its way into Charlemagne’s Imperial gardens. Garden Guides’ research on the vegetable found that by the 1600s it was a staple crop in India, and, as the trade routes expanded, so did the spread of kohlrabi. This cabbage-like vegetable is found primarily in the southern United States, though it can be bought in select grocery stores throughout the country. Kohlrabi has been enhancing diets for thousands of years in countries around the world.

With the help of Nutrition and You, I was able to decipher the long words that seem to overpower and unnecessarily complicate the pursuit of a healthy diet. Pyridoxine sounds nice, but how will eating kohlrabi- a leafy green or purple vegetable commonly called knol-knol- actually benefit my health?

With its low caloric value and high density of nutrients, kohlrabi offers a surprisingly large number of health benefits. The advantages can be seen prominently when one looks at the protection from disease and cancer that is augmented by kohlrabi’s nutrients. By enabling the body to cleanse itself more completely, kohlrabi, which is rich in anti-oxidants that allow this cleansing process to ensue, aids in the prevention specifically of colon and prostate cancer.

Kohlrabi does contain some of the more common nutrients as well, including Vitamin C, fiber and potassium.  Knol-knol, despite its lack of popularity, can positively contribute to the pursuit for a healthier diet.

Kohlrabi and Egg Noodles (Recipe from All Recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups egg noodles (such as No Yolks®)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 cups grated kohlrabi
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.

2. Cook egg noodles in boiling water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through yet firm to the bite, about 5 minutes; drain.

3. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.

4. Add kohlrabi, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the kohlrabi is tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

5. Stir the drained egg noodles into the kohlrabi; cook and stir until the noodles are slightly fried, 5 to 7 minutes.

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