How to Store Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi, an often overlooked yet versatile member of the brassica family, can be a delightful addition to your culinary repertoire.

If you find yourself with a bounty of these bulbous stems, knowing how to store them correctly will ensure that they remain crisp and ready for use.

Typically sourced from your garden or the local market, kohlrabi should be separated from its leaves, as the latter can draw out moisture and expedite spoilage.

Kohlrabi stored in a cool, dark place, like a root cellar or refrigerator, in a breathable container to maintain freshness

Proper storage of kohlrabi involves keeping the bulbs in a cool and moist environment to retain their freshness.

The crisper drawer of your refrigerator serves as an ideal location.

Encasing the bulbs in a sealable plastic bag or wrapping them in a moist kitchen towel before refrigerating creates the perfect conditions to extend their lifespan.

Under optimal conditions, kohlrabi can remain fresh for about a week, maintaining its characteristic texture and flavor.

Selecting Fresh Kohlrabi

When choosing kohlrabi, focus on the bulb’s quality and appearance to ensure you’re taking home a vegetable that is fresh and full of flavor.

Identifying High-Quality Bulbs

Your first indicator of a kohlrabi’s freshness is the color and texture of its skin.

Look for bulbs that have a vibrant hue, which can range from a deep purple to a bright green.

The skin should be free of cracks and blemishes. Small scratches are normal, but avoid bulbs with large cuts or soft spots.

You should also assess the firmness; the bulbs should feel firm when gently squeezed, indicating they are juicy and crisp.

Sizing and Appearance

Size matters when it comes to kohlrabi.

Opt for bulbs that are 2 to 3 inches in diameter; at this size, they are likely to have a sweet flavor and a tender texture.

Larger bulbs may seem like a good deal, but they have a tendency to become woody and lose their optimal sweetness.

Additionally, the enlarged stem portion—the bulb—should be uniformly round, as irregular shapes may affect the overall texture when eaten.

Preparation and Cleaning

Kohlrabi being washed and trimmed, then stored in a cool, dry place

Proper preparation and cleaning are crucial for storing kohlrabi, ensuring longevity while maintaining its nutritional value. Your approach to these initial steps can significantly impact the quality of the kohlrabi when you later use it.

Peeling and Cutting

Before storing your kohlrabi, it’s essential to prepare the bulb correctly.

Start by removing the leaves and any remaining stems from the bulb, as these can expedite spoilage.

While the skin of young kohlrabi is typically tender enough to eat, you may peel it if the outer layer is tough or has imperfections. Use a sharp knife to cut away any blemishes.

Washing Kohlrabi

After peeling and cutting, it’s important to wash the kohlrabi thoroughly to remove any dirt.

Rinse the bulb under cool running water, gently scrubbing its surface with a vegetable brush to ensure all dirt is removed.

Pay special attention to crevices where dirt may be hidden. Pat the kohlrabi dry with a clean towel before proceeding to storage.

Storing Kohlrabi Raw

When storing raw kohlrabi, your goal is to maintain its crisp texture and flavor. The key lies in the right balance of humidity and temperature inside your refrigerator.

Short-Term Refrigerator Storage

For short-term storage, place your kohlrabi bulb in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. This area is specially designed to hold vegetables and maintain an appropriate level of humidity.

To prepare kohlrabi for storage, follow these steps:

  • Trim any leaves off the kohlrabi bulb and save them for another use; they are edible and nutritious.
  • Wrap the bulb loosely in a paper towel to absorb excess moisture, which can lead to spoilage.
  • Store the wrapped kohlrabi in a plastic bag with a few holes for circulation to keep the air moving, which is essential to prevent ethylene buildup and spoilage.

Extending Freshness in the Fridge

To keep kohlrabi fresh for a longer period:

  • Consider storing the bulbs in an airtight container to limit exposure to air, which can degrade the kohlrabi over time.
  • Do not wash the kohlrabi before storing it, as the excess moisture can encourage decay. Instead, wash it just before use.
  • Monitor the humidity levels within the storage container or plastic bag. If the kohlrabi bulb starts to become soft or show signs of excess moisture, adjust by changing the paper towel or improving air circulation.

Storing Kohlrabi Cooked

Kohlrabi stored in a refrigerator drawer, wrapped in a damp cloth

When storing cooked kohlrabi, it’s crucial to ensure that it retains its flavor and texture. Immediate cooling and airtight refrigeration play key roles in preserving the quality of this cooked vegetable.

Cooling and Transferring

After cooking kohlrabi, cool it rapidly to restrict bacterial growth and preserve its taste. Do the following:

  1. Spread the cooked kohlrabi on a flat surface for quick cooling.
  2. Once cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container. This will help maintain the vegetable’s flavor and prevent it from drying out.

Refrigeration of Cooked Kohlrabi

Cooked kohlrabi should be placed in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life. Follow these specific steps:

  • Store: Place the cooled kohlrabi in an airtight container to lock in moisture and flavor.
  • Refrigerator: The temperature inside the refrigerator should be set between 32°F (0°C) and 40°F (4°C).
  • Shelf-life: Properly stored, cooked kohlrabi can last in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

Freezing Kohlrabi

Freezing kohlrabi effectively preserves its quality and extends its shelf life. Here’s how to prepare and store kohlrabi in your freezer.

Blanching Before Freezing

Before freezing kohlrabi, blanching is a crucial step.

Blanching involves boiling the kohlrabi pieces for 2 minutes to halt enzyme activity that can lead to spoilage.

Immediately after boiling, transfer the kohlrabi to ice water to cool rapidly. This process helps to preserve the vegetable’s texture, color, and nutritional value.

Packaging for Freezer Storage

Once blanched and cooled, dry the kohlrabi pieces thoroughly.

Spread them on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until solid to prevent clumping.

After they are individually frozen, transfer the kohlrabi to plastic bags or airtight containers, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.

Properly packaged, kohlrabi can maintain quality for up to 12 months in the freezer.

Utilizing Leftover Kohlrabi

A kohlrabi is being sliced and stored in airtight containers in a refrigerator

When you find yourself with leftover kohlrabi, innovative and flavorful dishes can be created with both the stems and leaves whether cooked or served raw.

Incorporating into Meals

Stems: The sturdy stems of kohlrabi are versatile and can be used in a variety of cooked dishes.

You can dice them for stews or soups, adding a mild, turnip-like flavor and a hearty texture.

Alternatively, consider roasting them to bring out their natural sweetness; sliced into half-inch pieces, toss with oil and your choice of spices, and roast at 425°F (220°C) until fork-tender.

Stems and Leaves

Leaves: Much like collard greens, kohlrabi leaves are edible and nutritious.

You can chop them and add to salads for a crunchy element or sauté them as a side dish.

The leaves are tender when steamed and can also enhance the nutritional profile of smoothies.

Side Dishes and Salads

The versatility of kohlrabi extends to its use as a refreshing raw element in side dishes or salads.

Its crunchy texture and peppery flavor make it an excellent addition to slaws or mixed vegetable platters.

Health Benefits and Nutrition

When you incorporate kohlrabi into your diet, you’re benefiting from a nutritious vegetable that delivers a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. It also provides dietary fiber and antioxidants that can support your overall health.

Fresh kohlrabi stored in a cool, dark place. Surrounded by other vegetables. Clear labeling indicating its nutritional benefits

Vitamins and Minerals

Kohlrabi is particularly rich in vitamin C, an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining your immune system, skin health, and more. It’s also a good source of potassium, which is crucial for heart health and proper muscle and nerve function.

Here’s what you stand to gain in terms of vitamins and minerals from kohlrabi:

NutrientBenefit
Vitamin CEnhances immune function and skin health.
PotassiumImportant for heart health and muscle function.
OtherContains various other micronutrients in smaller amounts.

Dietary Fiber and Antioxidants

Your digestive health gets a boost with kohlrabi, as it’s a good source of fiber—with almost 5 grams per serving—contributing to your recommended daily intake. Fiber is key in promoting regularity and may help in managing healthy weight levels.

Kohlrabi also includes important antioxidants, which can combat oxidative stress and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

ComponentBenefit
Dietary FiberAids in digestion, supports regularity, and contributes to satiety.
AntioxidantsHelp protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Make sure to regularly include kohlrabi and other fiber-rich vegetables in your diet to fully utilize these health benefits.

Cooking Techniques and Recipes

Kohlrabi being stored in a cool, dark place. Sliced kohlrabi being blanched in boiling water. A recipe book open to a page on pickling kohlrabi

Exploring a variety of cooking methods can accentuate the flavor and texture of kohlrabi, whether you’re working with the bulb or its leaves.

Experiment with the refreshing crispness of raw kohlrabi or venture into cooked preparations that highlight its versatility reminiscent of turnip, kale, and cabbage.

Steaming and Boiling

You can steam kohlrabi to enjoy its crunchy texture softened just enough to bring out a mildly sweet flavor.

To steam kohlrabi, cut the bulb into uniform pieces, place them in a steamer basket over boiling water, and cover. Steam for 5-7 minutes for slices, or 10-12 minutes for thicker chunks.

To boil kohlrabi:

  1. Clean the bulb and slice it if preferred.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  3. Add kohlrabi, cooking for 20-30 minutes for whole pieces or until tender for slices.
  4. Drain and season with butter, salt, and pepper.

Remember, kohlrabi leaves are edible too. Treat them like kale or spinach, boiling the leaves just for 2-3 minutes to retain their nutrients and a vibrant color.

Sautéing and Roasting

Sautéed kohlrabi offers a faster route to enjoy this vegetable with a caramelized edge.

Cut the bulb into thin slices then sauté in a heated skillet with butter. Season with salt, nutmeg, and a touch of sugar to enhance its inherent sweetness. Cook until the slices are al dente with a slight crispness.

When roasting kohlrabi:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C).
  • Cube the kohlrabi and toss with olive oil and your choice of herbs and spices.
  • Spread the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Roast for 30-35 minutes until they have a golden brown color and a fork can easily pierce them.

Roasting deepens the flavor and gives the kohlrabi a satisfying texture that contrasts with more tender cooked stems and leaves. This method works wonderfully if you’re aiming for a heartier dish that complements the lightness of cooked greens like spinach or kale.

Kohlrabi in the Kitchen

A kohlrabi sits on a wooden cutting board in a bright, airy kitchen. A refrigerator door is open, revealing a crisper drawer filled with fresh produce

Before incorporating kohlrabi into your kitchen routine, know that this versatile vegetable comes in green, white, and purple varieties. Its flavor pairs well with a number of ingredients, and with proper storage, you can maintain its freshness.

Pairing with Other Ingredients

Kohlrabi’s crisp texture and mildly sweet flavor make it a complementary addition to a variety of dishes. For optimal culinary harmony:

  • With onions: Enhance the sweetness of kohlrabi by sautéing it with onions.
  • With potatoes: Combine with potatoes for a grounded, earthy flavor in soups or roasts.
  • With carrots and celery: Mix with carrots and celery for a vibrant and nutritious stir-fry or slaw.

Storage Tips and Kitchen Organization

To keep your kohlrabi fresh:

  1. Temperature: Store kohlrabi in the fridge, where it’s cool, to preserve its crunchiness.
  2. Kitchen Shelf Life: Expect your kohlrabi to last about a week, with proper care.
  3. Preparation for Storing:
    • Remove leaves but save them for use, as they are also edible.
    • Wrap the bulb in a damp kitchen towel or place it in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Kohlrabi stored in a cool, dark place. A pantry or root cellar with good air circulation. Avoid direct sunlight and moisture

When storing kohlrabi, you may encounter a few common issues that can affect the quality of your vegetables. These tips will help you address problems such as a woody texture and prevent deterioration.

Dealing with Woody Texture

If your kohlrabi develops a woody texture, it’s often because the bulbs have been allowed to grow too large before harvesting. To prevent this issue:

  • Harvest kohlrabi when the bulb is 2-3 inches in diameter.
  • Avoid leaving kohlrabi in the ground too long, as oversized bulbs are more likely to become tough.

If you’ve already harvested and your kohlrabi has become woody:

  • Remove any cracks or hard spots before storing.
  • Consume the kohlrabi sooner rather than later to ensure better texture.

Preventing Deterioration and Sprouting

To extend the shelf life of kohlrabi and prevent deterioration:

  • Store the kohlrabi bulbs in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer.
  • Ensure the storage environment is moist, wrapping the bulbs in a damp kitchen towel can help.

If you notice your kohlrabi beginning to sprout:

  • Check for spots where sprouting occurs and remove these parts.
  • Use any leaves you remove, as they are edible and can be quite tasty.

Frequently Asked Questions

When storing kohlrabi, it’s essential to ensure freshness and maintain quality. These FAQs provide reliable methods for optimal storage conditions.

What is the best way to store kohlrabi in the refrigerator?

To keep kohlrabi fresh in the refrigerator, first remove the leaves and store them separately. Wrap the bulb in a moist kitchen towel or place it in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer to maintain its crispness for about a week.

Can you freeze kohlrabi to extend its freshness?

Yes, kohlrabi can be frozen. Blanch the bulbs for a few minutes, plunge them into ice water to halt the cooking process, drain them well, and then pack them in airtight freezer bags before freezing.

How should kohlrabi be stored for long-term preservation?

For long-term storage, kohlrabi bulbs can be kept in a cool, humid environment with temperatures near 0°C (32°F) and high humidity. They can last for several months under such conditions, far longer than in a conventional home refrigerator.

What are the indicators that kohlrabi has gone bad?

Spoiled kohlrabi may become soft, discolored, or develop an off smell. If the kohlrabi is slimy or shows signs of mold, it should be discarded.

How does one keep cut kohlrabi fresh?

To keep cut kohlrabi fresh, wrap the exposed surfaces in plastic wrap or place them in a covered container with a damp cloth to minimize exposure to air and moisture loss. Keep the container in the refrigerator.

What methods are recommended for preserving kohlrabi through the winter?

To preserve kohlrabi through the winter, you can store the bulbs in a root cellar or similar cool, moist storage area. Cover them with sand or sawdust to prevent them from drying out. Also, ensure they are not touching to reduce the risk of rot spreading from one bulb to another.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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