There have been some pretty silly songs within the scope of the last few generations. Do you ever wonder if the generations preceding the ubiquity of the radio, never mind music videos and iTunes, ever listened to such ridiculous lyrics? Wonder no longer. There are libraries full of the well-documented sometimes bawdy, nonsense songs of castle keeps, pubs, campfires and beer halls of bygone centuries. How else to keep the bards employed? Somewhere near the top of the growing inventory must be The Flying Purple People Eater, a song that comes to mind immediately on the sight of kohlrabi. Surely there’s a conspiracy theory somewhere that allows for an alien invasion of vegetables.
Despite the absurdity of its mien, this little globe was long ago bred from wild cabbage as were its cousins broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, rutabaga, turnips and cauliflower. Frequently assumed to be a root vegetable, the bulb actually grows above the ground. Its origins are not clear, it has been promoted by Pliny the Elder, Apicius (author of the first known cookbook) and Charlemagne. It has remained exceptionally popular in Germany and in as far flung places as Kashmir and Sri Lanka. Kohlrabi has a sweeter, nuttier taste than its relatives. Leaves, stems and bulb are edible lending themselves to being eaten raw, roasted, sautéed, steamed and boiled.
In past columns we have published here several decidedly down to earth recipes including Kohlrabi Pureed with Shallots and Parmesan Cheese, which are available on the web site. This week we’ve opted to try it raw with Kohlrabi Apple Mint Salad. Adopt an alien from the market today.