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Growing Kohlrabi Greens and Root – Burns Fat, Fights Cancer

Another cancer-fighting cabbage cousin.

We’re growing kohlrabi greens and root for the second time this year so we’ve been investigating some of its many nutritional benefits. Turns out that kohlrabi greens and the root of this funky looking tuberous vegetable have many nutritional benefits!

When I first saw this strange looking plant, the bulbous stem reminded me of broccoli stems, which when peeled, are great raw veggie snack. Indeed, it does taste similar to broccoli stems, or the thicker parts of cabbage, which makes sense given that Kohlrabi is in the brassica—cabbage—family of fierce fat and cancer fighting vegetables, along with broccoli.

To unleash the the antioxidant called sulforaphane, which is a powerful natural anti-cancer compound, the cruciferous vegetables must be chewed well. 

If you haven’t yet chopped up peeled broccoli stem or kohlrabi for raw veggie snacks, give it a try. Both make for satisfyingly crunchy snacks, with super health benefit. You cells will be singing and your tastebuds will probably enjoy it as well.

Chopped, cubed or sliced, kohlrabi vegetable can be added to soups, salads and stir frys. Shredded, it can be added to or made into its own coleslaw. The kohlrabi greens can also be chopped or shredded into these dishes, chopped and steamed tossed with salad. Some people like to cook them like collards, boiling the greens; we prefer to steam, juice or eat them raw for best nutritional benefit.

Health benefits of Kohlrabi (aka Knol-khol)

First and foremost for many people is the anti-cancer and anti-fat benefits of cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are known for reducing belly fat in particular, and reducing the size and number of tumors and cancer cells.

Excerpted from Nutrition-And-You.com1)

  • LOW IN CALORIES: Mildly sweet, crispy textured kohlrabi is notably rich in vitamins and dietary fiber, yet low in calories at only 35 calories per 1 cup or 135 gram serving.
  • HIGH IN VITAMIN C: Fresh kohlrabi stem is rich source of vitamin-C; providing 140% of RDA
  • CANCER FIGHTING: 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.
  • VITAMIN B6: at 10% of DV – Daily Value
  • B-COMPLEX VITAMINS: \ niacin, B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid
  • MINERALS: 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.
  • VITAMIN A: small amounts of vitamin A, and carotenes.

PURPLE KOHLRABI was found to contain 4x more of the cancer-fighting glucosinolate compound than the white kohlrabi. However purple and white cabbage is still the superior source for this compound. But regular doses of all of these in your diet should go a long way toward keeping your body healthy and protected.2)

KOHLRABI LEAVES or tops, like turnip greens, are also very nutritious greens abundant in carotenoids, vitamin-A, vitamin K, minerals, and B-complex group of vitamins.

(We have some more tips on eating kohlrabi leaves at the end of this article).

Older plants may need to be peeled as the skin gets tough, so pick the purple kohlrabi young enough to be able to serve with the lovely purple skin intact.


Growing Kohlrabi

Except for being highly attractive to flea beetles, kohlrabi is relatively easy to grow.  It is usually grown as transplants that can be set out quite early (like broccoli), with only 55 to 60 days to maturity. But don’t let it sit in the garden too long, especially if the weather is hot and dry, or the kohlrabi will get tough and woody.
Excerpted from, where you can also find some kohlrabi recipes. 3)

In early spring, we covered our cruciferous veggies with Easy Tunnel or AgriFabric. It worked really well to protect the plants from frost as well as to keep off cabbage critters like flea beetles and cabbage moths.

This earthy tuber also comes in a beautiful purple color (see these on Amazon), which has been found to have more of the cancer-fighting glucosinolate than the white or pale variety.4)

Another interesting discovery is that the later kohlrabi crops tend to have more nutrition than the early spring crops. In fact, another huge article could be written on how studies are revealing that the different growing climates definitely affect the nutrients in food.

Purple kohlrabi

If you’re growing Kohlrabi and have any tips or recipes to share, please send us a note telling us how it’s doing and how you like it, or comment on the Gardens All Facebook page.

Oh! And don’t forget to eat the kohlrabi greens too! 🙂

Here are Some Tips on Kohlrabi Greens


Are Kohlrabi Leaves Edible? The avid home gourmet may well ask, “Are kohlrabi leaves edible?” The answer is a resounding yes. Although the plant is generally grown for the thick bulb, you can also take the smaller leaves that form when the plant is young. These are used much like spinach or collard greens. Kohlrabi greens are thick and taste best when cooked or steamed, but they are also eaten chopped in salads. Harvesting kohlrabi leaves in early spring is the best time to get flavorful, tender greens.

You can read more at Gardening Know How: Eating Kohlrabi Greens: Tips For Harvesting And Cooking Kohlrabi Leaves 5)

List of Cruciferous Vegetables

For weight loss and to aid with cancer prevention and treatment, here’s a list of cruciferous vegetables so you can include some in your diet each day.

  • arugula
  • bok choy
  • broccoli, (love this one: Romanesco Broccoli, aka Fibonacci broccoli!)
  • broccoli rabe
  • broccolini
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • collards
  • horseradish
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • mustard greens
  • radish
  • red cabbage
  • rutabaga
  • turnips
  • turnip greens
  • watercress

If you’re keen to ferment other foods, check out this article.

And here’s an AWESOME fermented probiotic Kohlrabi Slaw RECIPE, from Susan at

Let’s keep on growing!

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