Up until a couple of years ago we grew Kohlrabi. One of the problems we had was size. It grew quite large rather quickly. It is also known as the German Turnip, although it is not related to turnips. It is in the brassica family, and is a cultivar of wild cabbage. I love kohlrabi and I grew up eating it, as it was a common vegetable in Germany. My mother would buy it whenever she found it, and always made it the way she made cauliflower, in a delicious béchamel sauce.
Diet is like fashion, how people eat can change fairly dramatically. In today’s world, a lot of people are gluten free, and some of us are just looking for ways to reduce our carb intake and get more fresh veg into our diets. Kohlrabi is one of the vegetables people use for making “noodles”. If you compare 140 gm of spaghetti (which is 1 cup) to 140 gm of Kohlrabi you are looking at 43 gm of carbs for pasta and just under 9 gm for Kohlrabi.
I’m not really trying to sell you all on the virtues of Kohlrabi, but I realize growing vegetables is no longer as straight forward as it used to be. There are many things we now need to consider. The truth is I am looking at trends and don’t honestly know how the majority of our members eat. But I would guess having ways to incorporate more fresh vegetables by and occasionally replacing it for dried pasta might be of interest to many of you.
As for the new thing; I met a farmer from the East coast a couple of years ago at the Market one Saturday. He asked me if we grew Spigarello, which I had never heard of, so obviously the answer was no. He was touting all it’s virtues, delicious, easy to grow, great yields, his customers were going crazy for it, and no one was growing it. Naturally I told Nigel about it but with life as it was for him the last couple of years, we never got around to trying it out. A member reminded me of it, when she posted a recipe on our Slack group (do you all know about our Slack group? If you aren’t on there, email the office for the link). Another member gave it a thumbs up too.
So what is Spigarello? Apparently it is the parent to broccoli rabe, and native to southern Italy. It is long stemmed, with curly leaves and tastes much like broccoli. It doesn’t produce florets, but the flowers are edible. You use it like kale or other greens, raw in salads or cooked. It grows to full maturity in 45 days, but we can begin harvesting baby leaves at only 21. I am hoping to get seed ordered this week and get it into the ground as soon as possible. It is pretty tricky planting it direct, rather than as transplants. If we have really hot Indian summer weather it won’t be happy. But, as Nigel said, farming is a gamble, so I am going to give it a try. If it grows well and quickly from seed, it could be a nice addition.