Each week, we will have some tips and tricks from Jill of Merry Gardens Farm. Check back regularly for new ideas, recipes, and thoughts on gardening, health, and ecology!
It's interesting about kohlrabi, I've talked to people in their 70s and 80s and they so fondly talk about being kids and gobbling up the fresh, crispy, lightly sweet kohlrabi. Yet, in my family where my gardening grandma turns 100 years old this October, I had never heard of kohlrabi until about 10 years ago when a friend grew some. Even then, I wasn't all that interested. Why, when I was busy enough with my own garden each year already full of the stuff my family loves.
It seems maybe a good share of people were not familiar with kohlrabi a few years ago, but we have watched its popularity grow. Since growing kohlrabi at Merry Gardens Farm, we have learned a lot about this delicious vegetable. I think we can say the majority of people are lightly peeling the outer layer and eating the kohlrabi raw. Some folk crunch it like an apple, others cut it into matchstick pieces and dip it into a favorite dip, ie, hummus, ranch, etc.. One gentleman who was on a no-carb diet sliced them - not too thick, not too thin - and used them like a chip for salsa and other chip-dipping sauces. Raw isn't the only way people eat it, however. We have had people tell us they rub it in oil and grill it or put it in a foil wrap on the grill along with their favorite herbs and flavorings, of course. It can also be roasted, alone or with carrots, potatoes, beets, and any other favorite roasted veggie. It's absolutely delicious in a soup with a slight rutabaga flavor but more mild and sweet. Many people use it in place of mashed potatoes. We even had one market customer tell us she uses it as her "potato" salad.
Kohlrabi presents a fun veggie in the summer line up with a variety of options for finding a new taste and dish to enjoy!
Here's a basic pesto recipe that I use, simple but very good. People often think they have to seek out pine nuts, which does make a great and traditional pesto, but other nuts can be substituted. Pine nuts are local to an Italian cook. I use raw unsalted sunflower seeds. They are local to our area and less expensive.
GARLIC SCAPE PESTO
1-1 1/4 C chopped scapes 1 C pine nuts/pistachios/sunflower/walnuts 1 C olive oil 1 C parmesan 1 TB lemon juice salt to taste
What can we say about lettuce? Everyone knows what lettuce tastes like, what they like to put on their lettuce salad, or how much of it they like on their sandwich. What else is there to do with lettuce?
* Have you ever tried replacing bread with lettuce? The Peppery watercress adds zing—and a vitamin and mineral boost—to this aioli chicken wrap. Try this recipe today!
* Transform your lettuce salad with homemade dressing
My story: My 19-year old son has not been a big salad eater, and if he does it has to have shredded carrots, eggs, cheese, and dressing is always Ranch. Until last summer when he was finally willing to try my fresh salad that had only eggs (no carrots or cheese) and as always, my homemade oil and vinegar dressing. He loved it, loved the dressing. Ate his share and finished off the serving bowl after everyone was done. Now he specifically requests this salad when he comes home.
Homemade Dressing: 1/3 part vinegar of your choice; 1 part oil of your choice; 2-4 TBS sugar; salt to taste; shake in a jar or whip with whisk; add herbs/garlic/other favorite flavor; can add mayo, too!
Dressings are fun to make and experiment with. Try developing different flavors and find your favorites! For more ideas on dressings click here
My favorite vinegar's are apple cider and rice wine; balsamic is a fun alternative
Shrubs are great in a homemade dressing