Fresh This Week: Weird and Wonderful Kohlrabi

I'll admit it: I like to eat what's familiar. When I'm in the produce section, I pick up what I recognize, and I'm sure many of our customers do too! But that means missing out on a world of new tastes, so I decided to do some research on some of the “weirder” vegetables available at Argus. This week I brought home some purple kohlrabi from Hand-Sown Farm, a versatile, colorful, and healthy choice!

Gorgeous purple kohlrabi on the shelves at Argus.

Gorgeous purple kohlrabi on the shelves at Argus.

Kohlrabi: The Purple Octopus of the Garden

Definitely a weird-looking veggie, the kohlrabi inspires comparisons: a spiky hot-air balloon, an octopus. But don't be worried – the flavor is actually familiar and mild, like a sweeter broccoli stem or cabbage. This isn't a surprise, as like these veggies the kohlrabi is also a member of the brassica genus, and the round part that looks like a root is actually the selectively-bred stem. This veggie may look intimidating, but kohlrabi are healthy, tasty, and easier to use than you might think!

Kohlrabi is definitely an under-appreciated veggie. Like all the brassicas it has many health benefits, including phytochemicals that have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. It's high in dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin A, and calcium, and has more vitamin C than oranges!

It's possible the kohlrabi dates back to ancient Roman times – in the 1st century A.D., Pliny the Elder wrote about a “Corinthian turnip.” More recently, the word “kohlrabi” comes from two German words meaning “cabbage” and “turnip.” While popular in German-speaking countries, as well as in some northern Indian cuisine, kohlrabi is not a major crop in the U.S., so your best bet is usually to look for it at a local farmers' market like Argus.

Kohlrabi: not as colorful on the inside, but still delicious.

Kohlrabi: not as colorful on the inside, but still delicious.

When choosing a kohlrabi, both the green and purple varieties are delicious, although the purple can be slightly sweeter, and both are green on the inside. The smaller bulbs can be sweeter and more tender, although keep in mind that you have to peel off the top layers, which is best done with a paring knife. (Although in Poland, they eat the most tender specimens raw and unskinned like apples.) Don't throw out those greens, either – those can be steamed or sauteed the way you might use beet greens or collards!

One of the challenges of using kohlrabi is actually its versatility, as the mild, pleasant flavor makes it suitable for a wide range of dishes. What to choose? You can slice, cube, or grate the bulb, and you can use the flesh both raw and cooked. You can try crisp, slightly spicy raw kohlrabi with dip, or grate it into salads. The health benefits may be especially good for raw kohlrabi, but the flesh takes on a sweeter flavor and creamy texture when cooked. You can think of it as a carrot or potato: throw kohlrabi into a vegetable soup, roast it with beets, or steam and blend it into "mashed potatoes" with some cauliflower and butter. Plus, steamed kohlrabi can be throw into just about anything, including pasta dishes and stir fries. It absorbs other spices well, but you can also let its own sweet flavor shine through!

Kohlrabi and patty pan squash, fried together. Yum!

Kohlrabi and patty pan squash, fried together. Yum!

Feeling overwhelmed by options? Start with a simple recipe! Try cubing three peeled kohlrabi, then cook in plenty of butter over medium heat, for about 15 minutes, until the flesh is “al dente.” Add a tablespoon of sage and a pinch of salt – the result is a creamy, delicious side dish!

Another easy possibility is kohlrabi “fries.” Dip slices of kohlrabi into a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, and any other spice you like – curry, cayenne, garlic. Place these slices, uncrowded, on an oiled skillet over medium-low heat, and cook on both sides until golden-brown.

Another favorite is savory kohlrabi pancakes! This might be the way to get kids to try this new veggie. (Recipe from Grace Communications Foundation).

Kohlrabi Pancakes


4 small purple or green kohlrabi, peeled and trimmed
1 small onion, very finely chopped or grated on the large holes of a box grater
1 small green chili, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped or 1⁄4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1⁄4 cup (or more) all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander or ginger
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Grate the peeled and trimmed kohlrabi on the large holes of a box grater. Wrap the grated kohlrabi in a clean dishtowel and squeeze until most of the excess moisture has been removed.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the shredded kohlrabi, chopped or grated onion, optional chilies or chili flakes, beaten egg, flour, coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until just combined. Add additional flour by the teaspoon if batter seems too wet (mixture should be somewhat firm).

3. In a large, heavy frying pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil and the butter over medium-high heat until the butter stops foaming. Add ladlefuls of the pancake batter (about 1⁄3 of a cup at a time) to the pan, gently pressing down on the cakes with the back of a spatula. Cook kohlrabi pancakes until crispy and golden brown on each side.

4. Drain on paper towels and serve with sour cream, crème fraîche, yogurt or applesauce.

Makes 4 generously sized pancakes.

-- Post by Rose Miller


Fresh This Week: Why Nettle Tea Should Be Your Go-To Summer Drink

You may have already seen the prickly leaves in our produce section. And just this week, we added nettle tea to our cafe menu. But you probably haven't yet cooked up some nettle soup, or tried a nettle-tea latte – and here's why you should!

Folk wisdom, and the Internet, suggest that there are many health benefits for nettle tea. We can't speak for all the claims, but there is some evidence in support of nettle's traditional uses, and the best thing to do is try it for yourself! Nettle tea is often used as a “detoxifying” diuretic, and as an aid for arthritis pain. Many people drink a cup a two or day to help with skin conditions, and as a way to lower blood pressure. Also, you should know that many swear by nettle tea as a way to treat allergy symptoms. 

We sell fresh nettle for cooking, too! Be sure to wear gloves when preparing fresh leaf – otherwise you will get stung. But the leaves are perfectly safe once cooked, and if you're looking to eat healthy, nettle is worth the hassle. According to, ten grams of spinach offers a paltry 10 mg of calcium and 8 mg of magnesium – but the same amount of nettle boasts 290 mg of calcium and 86 mg of magnesium! Happily, these minerals occur in nettle tea, too. And both nettle leaf and tea contain vitamins A, C, and K, plus B-vitamins riboflavin, niacin, and folate. Nettle also contains high levels of protein, fiber, and many minerals, including zinc, ironic, magnesium, and more. All this information may be little overwhelming, but the point is – it's good for you!

We're excited to offer our nettle tea, which is made with local nettle, dried in small batches, and available iced or hot. Not sure what flavor to expect? It's definitely a “green” taste, but not overpowering. With honey and milk, it tastes a lot like a matcha latte, without the caffeine!

Wondering how to cook with nettles? To start, it's easy to include nettles anywhere that you might use cooked spinach – in soups, pizzas, omelets, or pasta dishes. While wearing gloves, discard the stems and boil the leaves for 3-4 minutes. Drain, and if you like, throw into ice water to stop the cooking process. You can then use them in your recipes, or store in a container for later use.

Is there any reason to be careful with nettle? Pregnant and breast-feeding women might want to avoid it, as it can have powerful effects. And people with diabetes or low blood pressure may want to ask a doctor, or proceed with caution.

Nettles have a springtime harvest, so like many of our products it is only available seasonally. Come and try some while it's here!

Try this easy and delicious Nettle and Green Garlic Soup from Food 52!

Serves 3-4

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 small leek

  • 2-3 stalks green garlic

  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 quart water or vegetable stock

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 bunch nettles (~1/2 pound)

  • regular or greek yogurt (optional)

  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until foamy. Add leeks and green garlic, stir. Sauté for 5-6 minutes until soft. Add potato, water or stock and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, simmer for 15 minutes or until potato is fork-tender.

  2. Meanwhile, remove the nettle leaves from the stem and rinse to clean. Wear gloves! Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop cleaned nettle leaves in the pot. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain and quickly put nettles in a bowl of cold water for 30 seconds. Remove and drain again.

  3. When soup is ready, add nettle leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender, blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Serve soup with dollops of yogurt, if desired.

-- Post by Rose Miller

Fresh This Week: It's Strawberry Season!

If you've been missing fruit at Argus, you'll be happy to hear that we now have strawberries! Our producers are just starting to bring in trays of locally-grown berries, so hurry in and get them while they're fresh! You can expect these strawberries to be more densely sweet and flavorful than anything you've tasted that was grown industrially or far far away. Our customers have been raving about the flavors!

Strawberries are definitely a healthy choice, too. You probably don't need to be convinced to eat this delicious fruit, but did you know that strawberries have one of the highest levels of antioxidants, plus anti-inflammatory properties, high vitamin C, and more? Plus, studies have found that the natural sugars in these berries actually helps to regulate blood sugar.

There are good reasons to choose strawberries from Argus, too. We have several organic producers, and the rest use complex and soil-healthy growing practices like crop rotation, in order to apply chemicals only as needed. (Because strawberries are such a fragile,  fungus-prone crop, it is difficult to grow them entirely without spray. Even some conventional "organic" strawberries are exposed to some chemicals). One Argus farmer took the time to explain that they spray as little as possible, never close to harvest days, and that these sprays are a much different formula from those used on industrial farms, where strong chemicals regularly deplete the soil and put workers' lives at risk. 

What does all this mean? Buy strawberries at Argus! Our producers' strawberries are grown with your health, soil health, and farmer health in mind. Plus, these strawberries are guaranteed to be delicious. Like all our produce, strawberries are a seasonal joy, so hurry in and choose a carton or two. And remember to pick up some whipping cream, while you're here...

-- Post by Rose Miller