Written and Photographed by Danielle Oteri
My participation in the local neighborhood CSA has completely changed the way I buy and use vegetables.
This is how it works: In late winter, I purchased a share in the summer crop of Windflower Farm, located in between the Hudson River and the Vermont border.
Every Tuesday the farmers brings the week’s bounty to two spots here in Washington Heights where CSA members gather to pick up their share.
If the crop does well, we get a ton of vegetables. If, like last year, there is tomato blight, well…we get less.
But most importantly, our urban neighborhood is able to support local farming and organic practices with little effort and great reward.
The best part is that I’ve been introduced to vegetables I never otherwise would have considered.
One share feeds a family of four, so I split the share with my friend and fiction writer Melissa Swantkowski. Today, we welcome Melissa to the GFS family as she shares with us her creative use of one weird lookin’ vegetable.
This week at our CSA pick-up, I encountered a purple, spiky vegetable called kohlrabi.
I was excited to try it, especially when the volunteer manning the vegetable handout mentioned that a lot of people use kohlrabi to make slaw. I’ve rarely met a slaw I don’t like.
I peeled off the purple skin to find white flesh that reminded me more of Asian pear (but less sweet) than turnip.
Internet research revealed that the Kohlrabi is also known as the German Turnip, and is in the same family as some of my other favorite vegetables like kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, all having originated from a species of wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea).
With a little muscle, I grated my peeled kohlrabi on a cheese grater. Unfortunately this turned it into a watery mess.
Undeterred, I pressed out the excess water through a strainer and soon had some pretty crunchy, refreshing, slaw-ready kohlrabi.
The delicious slaw has kept kohlrabi on my mind, and I’m ready for more.
Sliced thin instead of grated, I think kohlrabi would taste pretty amazing over an arugula salad with some sliced Parmigiano, olive oil, and lemon.
- 1 kohlrabi
- 5 radishes
- 1 small pear
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons apple cider, red wine, or white wine vinegar
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- Coarsely grate the kohlrabi with a box grater or food processor.
- Using a fine-mesh strainer, drain the excess water from the kohlrabi.
- Slice the radishes into thin coins and dice the pear.
- In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with the oil and vinegar. Feel free to mix different types of vinegar in the slaw - half cider, half red wine, for example.
- Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 157mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.
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