Know your Kohlrabi

  • Kohlrabi (German Turnip) (Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group) is a low, stout cultivar of the cabbage that will grow almost anywhere. 

  • It has been selected for its swollen, nearly spherical shape. 

  • The name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus Rübe ~ Rabi (Swiss German variant) ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter. 

  • The same naming roots are also found in the German word "Kohlrübe", which refers to the rutabaga (Swede).

  • Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem growth; its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and brussels sprouts.

  • They are all bred from, and are the same species as, the wild cabbage plant (Brassica oleracea).


  • The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. 

  • The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet. 

  • Except for the 'Gigante' cultivar, spring-grown kohlrabi much over 5 cm in size tend to be woody, as do full-grown kohlrabi much over perhaps 10 cm in size; the 'Gigante' cultivar can achieve great size while remaining of good eating quality. 

  • The plant matures in 55-60 days after sowing. 

  • Approximate weight is 150 g and has good standing ability for up to 30 days after maturity.

  • It is tolerant to cracking.

  • Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked.

  • There are several varieties commonly available, including White Vienna, Purple Vienna, Grand Duke, Gigante (also known as "Superschmeltz"), Purple Danube, and White Danube. 

  • Colouration of the purple types is superficial: the edible parts are all pale yellow. 

  • The leafy greens can also be eaten.

  • Some varieties are grown as feed for cattle.

  • Kohlrabi is one of the most commonly eaten vegetables in Kashmir. Locally called Monj, the vegetable is eaten along with the leaves (haakh). A Kashmiri household may have this on their dinner/lunch plate 3 to 4 times a week.

  • Monj (kohlrabi) is made in many forms. There is a spicy version which the Pandits call "dum monj" while as the non-spicy version is called Monj-haakh.

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