Over the years, as our palates have become more used to processed foods, it has become habit to peel vegetables, removing their fibrous skins, without checking if we actually need to. Arguably, non-organic vegetables should be peeled, because of fungicide, weedkiller and pesticide residues, but when vegetables haven’t been sprayed with chemicals, their skins and more fibrous parts become an immune-boosting part of our diets, full of probiotics and nutrients usually lacking in processed foods.
Kohlrabi is one great example: its leaves are super-tasty, especially when cooked in a similar way to cabbage or collard greens; the skin and stalks will most likely be edible, too, unless it’s a particularly mature specimen. To test, cut off a little skin and stalk and bite into it: it will be tough, but if it’s not very woody, it’s fine to leave on. Finely slicing or dicing any fibrous vegetable skin will make it palatable, even if raw.
Ceviche is one of my favourite ways to prepare and preserve food. It wakes up your mouth with its punchy flavours and can give tired ingredients a new lease of life. It is, of course, traditionally made with fish, but the approach works just as well with any combination of vegetables.
Serves 4 as a snack or part of a main meal
1 small kohlrabi
1 green chilli, or to taste
1 organic (or fungicide-free) lime
½ pink grapefruit, optional
8 coriander stalks, optional
Remove the stalks and leaves from the kohlrabi, set aside the four tenderest leaves, then very finely chop the rest. Cut the main bulb into 5mm cubes. Finely chop a green chilli (pith and seeds removed, if you prefer less heat) and mix with the kohlrabi. Zest the lime into the bowl, then squeeze in its juice. If you have them to hand, add eight finely chopped coriander stalks. For some extra colour, add half a pink grapefruit, peeled and finely diced. Stir everything together and season generously with salt. Serve on the reserved kohlrabi leaves, or marinate in the fridge for up to five days.