Kohlrabi is healthy and tasty and enriches the diet of many self-sufficient raw or cooked vegetables. It is also popular with hobby gardeners because of its uncomplicated cultivation and low maintenance requirements during growth. Here you can find out when the right harvest time has come. Because nothing is more annoying than a successfully grown vegetable that is only moderately edible because it was harvested too early or late, or a tuber that has spoiled due to incorrect storage shortly before preparation.
Cultivation and harvest of kohlrabi
First of all, it should be said that there is no fixed time or season for harvesting kohlrabi. This is due to the fact that the popular cabbage plant can be sown directly in the field or cold frame from a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius and can be harvested after 12 to 20 weeks, depending on the kohlrabi varieties and the season. It is therefore less important to name a season than to work out individual signs that can be used to identify each kohlrabi as ripe.
Recognize the maturity of the harvest
Like other types of cabbage, the mostly whitish to yellow, but sometimes reddish plant in some types of kohlrabi can be eaten at any time. A certain degree of maturity is not required for edibility. However, since the part of the kohlrabi intended for consumption only grows over time from a thickening of the above-ground shoot axis, one should wait until harvest until a tuber suitable for consumption and worthwhile has grown. Signs of harvest maturity are the following clues, which can of course vary to a certain extent depending on the variety, the site conditions and the season of rearing:
- slightly tennis ball size of aboveground tuber
- With some species, significantly larger tubers are possible under certain circumstances, check in individual cases when sowing and take into account when harvesting
- Determine the time of harvest in relation to the intended method of preparation: harvest earlier than raw food because it is more tender; Harvest later than cooking vegetables because of the higher yield, tenderness is less relevant due to cooking
- ATTENTION: if the ripening period is too long, the tuber will become lignified to the point of being almost inedible
Tip : You should harvest early kohlrabi in particular a little before they have reached their final growth size, because then they are particularly tender and juicy.
Not only the time of harvest, but also the harvesting process influences the quality of the kohlrabi. When harvesting, the tuber should be cut off just below the stalk with a sharp knife. Then the top sheets can simply be broken off or cut off as well. If, on the other hand, the shell of the actual tuber is damaged, the kohlrabi dries out more quickly and should be eaten immediately after harvesting.
From harvest to consumption – the correct storage of the cabbage plant
The harvest is not always successful immediately before preparation or consumption. In these cases, it is important to store the kohlrabi correctly in order to be able to enjoy it some time later without any loss of quality. Optimal storage is possible with the following framework conditions:
- Store in as cool a place as possible, but without frost
- Remove leaves before storage as they remove moisture from the tuber
- If refrigerated, ideally wrap in damp cloth to reduce dehydration, then keep for up to a week
- In autumn it is possible to stock up outdoors, for example in the garden shed or under the canopy, but protect from frost!
- When storing tubers, protect them from standing moisture in the contact area, eg with a straw or newspaper underlay, otherwise there is a risk of mold and rot, especially in the area of the cut
Peculiarities of individual kohlrabi varieties
Whether during harvest or storage, individual types of kohlrabi have special properties that make them particularly susceptible to certain things, or make them appear particularly insensitive. Some of these characteristics of well-known varieties are these:
- Super melt – particularly large tuber formation with individual weights of 5 to 8 kilograms, therefore harvest later when larger tuber dimensions are reached
- White delicacy – tends to lignify particularly quickly and should therefore be harvested early
- Lanro – very cold-resistant, so it can still be harvested and stored late in the year
- Blaro – very burst-resistant and generally resistant blue-red variety, well suited for cultivation in off-peak times and for storage
- Knauf’s early white – a white variety that is well suited for early cultivation, only a short shelf life with rapid loss of quality if harvested too late
Harvesting kohlrabi: common mistakes
If you know common mistakes when storing and harvesting the kohlrabi, you can avoid them right from the start. These things should definitely be avoided or made better in order to preserve the quality for as long as possible without sacrificing:
- Tubers are cut flat during harvest – there is a risk of high moisture loss
- Harvesting too late – tuber becomes woody and inedible as raw food
- Harvesting too early – tuber is not fully grown, low crop yield
- Leaves remain on the kohlrabi bulb – removing large amounts of moisture from the bulb, thus reducing its shelf life
- Waterlogging in the contact area – rapid formation of mold and rot due to lack of drying
- Too cold storage/frost stress – destruction of the cell walls, thus greatly reduced shelf life
- Unprotected refrigerator storage – quick drying out, short shelf life
- Peel before storing – very quick dehydration due to lack of protection of the peel, very quick spoilage