By Andrea Grom
At the Saratoga Farmers’ Market in early autumn, there is a plethora of beautiful fruits and vegetables on display. Lush, leafy greens are abundant, and tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, carrots, radishes, and radicchio all attract the eye with their vibrant colors. Within this panoply, however, there are a handful of humble, mystifying vegetables, those more often overlooked than embraced. Celeriac and kohlrabi are two in this otherworldly group that deserve a taste.
At first glance, celeriac (aka celery root) might inspire more fear than awe. This heavy, round, whitish vegetable has wrinkled, knobby skin, a tangle of roots, and, sometimes, a sprout of green stalks and leaves resembling its cousin celery. Those courageous enough to approach it might notice its delicate celery aroma.
Yes, celeriac tastes like celery, only sweeter and richer. Under its thick skin is a dense, ivory-colored flesh that can have many uses. You can cube it and add it to roasted roots, hearty stews, and elegant purees, sliced thinly and made into gratins, and grated for the famous, refreshing, cold French salad: celeri remoulade. In addition to being delicious and versatile, celeriac is eminently nutritious due to its anti-inflammatory properties. This old-world vegetable is truly a diamond in the rough.
Kohlrabi is another unusual gem. In German, kohlrabi means “cabbage turnip” and is in the same botanical family as its more familiar namesakes. It is a green or purple orb (technically, a very fat stem) that grows just above the ground. A mass of green leaves on long stems erupts at all angles. Beneath the green or purple skin is crisp, juicy, white to cream-colored flesh with a sweet, broccoli-like flavor.
Kohrabi is easy to prepare: just cut off the root and peel the skin. Then, cut into wedges or sticks and sprinkle with salt or dip into hummus or a zesty sour-cream-based dip. Raw kohlrabi can also be thinly sliced and dressed with salt, olive oil, and fresh lemon juice. Additionally, you can cook it in soups and stir-fries and use the leaves like collards. Try ditching the chips for kohlrabi. Your body will thank you, as it’s packed with vitamins and minerals.
Celeriac and kohlrabi might not be the prettiest vegetables, but they most certainly have their place in your kitchen. Be brave, wield a sharp knife, and give them a try!
This week’s recipe: Celeri Remoulade
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open on Wednesdays from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. and
Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at High Rock Park in Downtown Saratoga. Find us online at
www.saratogafarmersmarket.org, where you can sign up for our