Kohlrabi – Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group)


Kohlrabi - Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group)

Kohlrabi Quick Facts
Name: Kohlrabi
Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group)
Origin Northwestern Europe
Colors Green, white or purple
Shapes Un branched, highly shortened, swollen, sub globose to globose, fleshy corm or bulbo tuber-like stem up to 12 cm in diameter
Flesh colors White
Taste Tastes like a combination of mild turnip and sweet apple.
Calories 36 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Vitamin C (93.00%)
Copper (19.33%)
Vitamin B6 (15.54%)
Total dietary Fiber (12.89%)
Potassium (10.04%)
Health benefits Digestive Health, Iron Deficiency, Nerve and Muscle Function, Vision Health, Cancer Prevention, Blood Pressure, Bone Strength, Weight Loss Booster, Metabolism
More facts about Kohlrabi
Brassica oleracea L., Gongylodes group, also known as kohlrabi and turnip-rooted cabbage, is a member of the Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) family. The name kohlrabi is made up of two German words: kohl meaning cabbage and rübe meaning turnip. The word kohlrabi literally translates to “cabbage turnip.” This term is very suitable as kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family and is related to cauliflower, Broccoli, Kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts but has a large edible bulb that resembles a turnip. It is a native of northern Europe and grows best in cool climates. Kohlrabi is not a root vegetable, large bulb is actually part of stem not root system. Kohlrabi is grown as an annual, with the enlarged stem being the most commonly used edible portion. The enlarged stem may have purple, white, or green skin, but the flesh is white. The leaves can also be eaten like collards. Kohlrabi is available from spring to late fall from various growing regions of North America. German cabbage, Kohlrabi, Knolknol, Stem Turnip, Cabbage Turnip, Turnip cabbage, Turnip- Stemmed Cabbage, Hungarian Turnip and Turnip Kale are some popular varieties of Kohlrabi.


Kohlrabi is a member of cabbage family which is erect, glabrous annual or biennial herb sized 50 cm tall. It is a cool season vegetable that prefers a sunny location and is found growing in well-drained, fertile soil rich in organic matter. Kohlrabi has pale greenish white, purple and strongly branched root system. Leaves are alternate, simple or with some small side lobes at base 20–28 cm long by 14–16 cm wide, irregularly incised, blue green colored. Flowers are bisexual, regular, 4-merous; pedicel up to 2 cm long sepals oblong, about 1 cm long, erect; petals obovate, 1.5–2 cm long, clawed, pale to bright yellow or yellowish white. Fruits are linear or curved silique 5–10 cm long and 5 mm wide, with a tapering beak 5–15 mm long, dehiscent, containing up to 30 seeds. Seeds are globose, 1.5–2 mm across, finely reticulate, dark brown.


Kohlrabi is a hardy, cool-season vegetable belonging to the cabbage family. It has a large edible bulb that looks like a turnip with leaves standing out like spokes. The edible portion is an enlarged stem that grows just above the ground line and is normally known as bulb. It is not a root vegetable, large bulb is actually part of stem not root system. Kohlrabi is normally un-branched, highly shortened, swollen, sub globose to globose, fleshy corm or bulbo tuber-like stem up to 12 cm in diameter and is green, white or purple in color. Since it has a turnip like appearance and tastes like a mixture of cucumber and mild broccoli. Similarly it has mild cabbage flavor or a very sweet turnip with celery or nutty overtones. It tastes best when harvested while still young. Big, older kohlrabi is tough and woody and often has a bitter flavor. However, when a young kohlrabi is eaten raw, it sustains its crisp, juicy texture – similar to that of an apple.


The origin of kohlrabi is supposed to be in northwestern Europe, likely in Germany where it was developed from marrow-stem kale, a fodder crop along with a thickened stem. Kohlrabi was being grown all through Germany, Italy, England, and Spain by the early 1600’s but it did not make its way to the United States till the 1800’s. Records show that kohlrabi has been growing in the US since 1806. Today Kohlrabi is a popular vegetable in Asia, Europe, northern USA and Canada.

Nutritional Value

Apart from their tastes like a combination of mild turnip and sweet apple raw kohlrabi is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 135 gram of Kohlrabi offers 83.7 mg of Vitamin C, 0.174 mg of Copper, 0.202 mg of Vitamin B6, 4.9 g of Total dietary Fiber, 472 mg of Potassium and 62 mg of Phosphorus. Moreover many Amino acids like 0.014 g of Tryptophan, 0.066 g of Threonine, 0.105 g of Isoleucine, 0.09 g of Leucine and 0.076 g of Lysine are also found in 135 gram of Raw Kohlrabi.

Health benefits of Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi contains several nutrients, minerals, vitamins and lipids that help to enhance the overall health. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and good source of fiber. The important nutrients, minerals vitamins that are present in kohlrabi help us to maintain Digestive Health, Iron Deficiency, proper Nerve and Muscle Function, Vision Health and many more. So include it in your regular diet.

1. Metabolism

For those persons who want to control their metabolism or feel that something in their body just isn’t working appropriately, they should try kohlrabi, which is a rich source of B-vitamins, many of which performs key roles in enzymatic processes within the body. This vital network of reactions and processes regulates how functional and effective our bodies are, therefore making sure to add B-vitamin-rich foods like kohlrabi to a weekly diet can really help!

2. Digestive Health

Just like other most cruciferous vegetables, kohlrabi is a wonderful source of dietary fiber that is extremely beneficial for digestive health. Fiber presents in kohlrabi helps to move your bowels along, removing constipation, decreasing cramping and bloating, and usually improving the quality of your gastrointestinal system, while also minimizing your nutrient uptake efficiency.(1)

3. Iron Deficiency

Considerable amount of iron found in kohlrabi go hand-in-hand along with the potassium content, as iron helps to increase the RBC within the body, that is vital to avoid anemia (iron deficiency), which is described by weakness, headaches, fatigue, stomach disorders, disorientation, and general immune system failure. Calcium found in kohlrabi also helps to improve the uptake of iron by the body, thus kohlrabi is an all-around booster for both the immune and cardiovascular systems.(2)

4. Nerve and Muscle Function

Even though this distinctive feature of potassium isn’t argued too often, it is one of the main players in muscle and nerve behavior in the body. It helps us move, breathe, react, and function every single day. As such, the high potassium content in kohlrabi makes it a great addition to your diet to keep alert, energetic, and in great shape! One cup of raw kohlrabi consists of 472 mg of potassium which is 10.04% of the daily recommended value.(3)

5. Vision Health

Protecting our capability to see the world is one of the key parts of human nutrition, and nothing is far better than vitamin A for this purpose. Kohlrabi is a rich source of carotenes, like beta carotene, that acts as an antioxidant compound within the body, mainly in the ocular area. Vitamin A can help to avoid macular degeneration and slow down or eradicate the appearance of cataracts. It is done simply by neutralizing the free radicals in the eye and preventing oxidative stress.(4)

6. Cancer Prevention

Kohlrabi is one of those incredible vegetables that seem consecrated along with high levels of phytochemicals, mainly glucosinolates that are considered some of the most significant antioxidant compounds for the prevention of cancer, including breast and prostate cancer. Therefore kohlrabi must be included in our Nora diet to remain safe from cancer.(5)

7. Blood Pressure

Potassium also functions as a vasodilator, decreasing the strain on the cardiovascular system simply by easing the tension of blood vessels and arteries. This help to increase circulation throughout the body, oxygenating key areas, and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular events like strokes or heart attacks. Apart from that Potassium is also a key part of fluid regulation in the body, as it works with sodium to regulate fluid movement between cells.(6)

8. Bone Strength

As we get older, our bones certainly weaken, but one of the greatest methods to avoid or considerably slowdown that process is simply by consuming mineral-rich food, like vegetables such as kohlrabi, with high manganese, iron, and calcium contents. Avoiding osteoporosis is something that can be done when you’re young, so keep those calcium levels high! One cup raw kohlrabi consists of 0.188 mg of manganese, 0.54 mg of iron and 32 mg of calcium, which is 8.17%, 6.75% and 3.20% of the daily recommended value respectively.(7)

9. Weight Loss Booster

Kohlrabi is among the perfect diet vegetable, because it is low in calories, high in fiber, and is packed with beneficial nutrition. Fiber helps us to make us feel full, so even if the volume of food consumed isn’t that great, we resist the urge to snack between meals or overeat.(8)

How to Eat

  • The young, swollen, fleshy, sub globose kohlrabi stem base is peeled and eaten raw served with a little salt and vinegar.
  • When finely grated it makes an excellent addition to mixed salads.
  • It is an excellent vegetable when cooked, boiled or steamed.
  • Kohlrabi can be eaten as baked fries or wedges.
  • Leaves are cooked as a vegetable or the young leaves are added to salads.
  • Kohlrabi is an essential part of the Kashmiri diet and one of the most commonly cooked foods.
  • It is prepared with its leaves and served with light gravy and consumed with rice.
  • Kohlrabi stem is used in the vegetarian curry ganth gobi sabzi, kohlrabi stew ( Monji Kalia ) or fried kohlrabi curry ( Dum Monji).
  • The swollen stem and leaves are used together in a dish called Monji Haak .
  • European chefs make use of purple kohlrabi leaves as a garnish.
  • Kohlrabi leaves can be harvested and cooked like kale or turnip greens.
  • Kohlrabi can be chopped and added to soups or stews.
  • Boiled kohlrabi can be added to mashed potatoes or other mashed root vegetables, or is amazingly delicious alone served with a pat of butter!
  • Kohlrabi can also be cooked with other veggies cubed or wedged, or alone and julienned like fries. Season as preferred with herbs, spices, or cheeses.
  • Add kohlrabi to stir-fries or sauté them along with onions and garlic.
  • Bake sliced kohlrabi in a 250° oven till crispy.
  • Slice and add to baked dishes just like risottos or grate and mix with pastas.