Kohlrabi, also known as knol-khol or German Turnip, is a stout, round, tuberous vegetable in the Brassica family, the family that also includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. This stem vegetable is native to Europe. Scientific name: Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group).
Knol knol is a perennial, cool season vegetable. It is grown all over the temperate climates for its succulent round shaped modified stem as well for its turnip-flavored top greens.
The plant requires well-drained fertile soil and average sunlight to flourish. Its edible stem attains maturity and ready for harvest in 55-60 days after sowing. Approximate weight is 150 g. Being a modified stem-vegetable, kohlrabi is less prone for cracking and has a good standing ability for up to 30 days even after maturity.
Kohlrabis have similar taste and texture as that of a broccoli stem or cabbage, but milder and sweeter. The younger stems have crispy, pleasant taste, and rich flavor.
Two main varieties of knol-knol exist, white and purple. However, internally, both the “white” (actually light green color) as well as purple types have similar cream-yellow color edible flesh. Some of the popular cultivars grown worldwide are: white Vienna, white Danube, purple vienna, and grand duke.
Health benefits of Kohlrabi (Knol-khol)
- Mildly sweet, crispy textured kohlrabi is notably rich in vitamins and dietary fiber; however, it has only 27 calories per 100 g, a negligible amount of fat, and zero cholesterol.
- Fresh kohlrabi stem is rich source of vitamin-C; provides 62 mg per 100 g weight that is about 102% of RDA.Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin, and powerful anti-oxidant. It helps the human body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth, and gum. Its anti-oxidant property helps the human body protect from diseases and cancers by scavenging harmful free radicals from the body.
- Kohlrabi, like other members of the Brassica family, contains health-promoting phytochemicals such asisothiocyanates, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol that are supposed to protect against prostate and colon cancers.
- It especially contains good amounts of many B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid, etc., that acts as co-factors to enzymes during various metabolism inside the body.
- Knol-knol notably has good levels of minerals; copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and phosphorus are especially available in the stem. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- In addition, its creamy color flesh contains small amounts of vitamin A, and carotenes.
- Kohlrabi leaves or tops, like turnip greens, are also very nutritious greens abundant in carotenes, vitamin-A, vitamin K, minerals, and B-complex group of vitamins.
Nutritional and dietary information
Kohlrabi is rich in nutrients. Its nutrient content is summarized below:
- Vital vitamins for the human body, like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 ( Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid). It is also rich in folate.
- Protein and dietary fiber.
- It has a low content of fats and almost 0% cholesterol.
- It contains beta-carotene, which is a rich source of Vitamin A.
- It is rich in minerals and electrolytes like Potassium, Sodium, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Zinc and Selenium.