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Author: Scott Nystrom  •  Date: June 21, 2016  •  Appears in: Community, Recipe

Fermented Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi looks like something that would grow in a Martian garden. A bulbous root perched atop the soil with gangly leaves reaching skyward. It bears a delicious resemblance to its family fodder, crunchy like a broccoli stem and faintly sweet like cabbage, with leaves like collard greens or kale. If you can get past its alien appearance, kohlrabi is a fun and nutritious addition to your farmer’s market basket. You can treat it as you would a radish – raw, roasted, pickled – although it also makes a wicked crispy fritter, shredded and fried in coconut oil. Since all roads lead to the gut, a funky probiotic ferment will elevate this other worldly vegetable to the status of food medicine and nourish your microbiome while it pleases your palate. Throw in some granny smith apples to feed those lactobacillus bacteria with fruit sugar and pectin and give it a South East Asian twist with some ginger and cardamom pods. Be patient and let it ferment to peak probiotic perfection before topping a bratwurst or a juicy organic pastured pork chop from Wild Moon Organics with this tangy natural pickle.

Cultured Kohlrabi
  • 2 medium kohlrabi, leaves and leaf nodes removed
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups purified water
  • Large wide mouthed mason jar
  • Smaller jam jar
  • Cloth
  • Elastic band
What to do:
  1. Trim leaves and fibrous leaf nodes from kohlrabi root. Unless kohlrabi is young and fresh, peel outer skin. Slice into thin disks then slice disks into thin matchsticks.
  2. Cut core from apple and slice into similar shaped matchsticks as the kohlrabi.
  3. Crush cardamom pods between cutting board and base of jar.
  4. Peel ginger by scraping with the edge of a spoon then slice into paper thin disks.
  5. Mix sea salt and purified water (iodized table salt and chlorinated tap water will negatively effect microbial growth).
  6. Add all ingredients to a large clean mason jar, ideally only filling the jar 2/3rds full so when the pickles expand during fermentation, the brine wont overflow the jar.
  7. Slip a smaller jam jar into the mouth of the large mason jar to hold the kohlrabi below the water line, ensuring a safe fermentation.
  8. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap secured with a rubber band.
  9. After 4 days, start tasting your ferment. When the tang is to your liking (I usually go 7-10 days, at least) transfer you pickles to the fridge to slow the fermentation process and allow the flavor to mature. Ideally 4-6 weeks from the time you started, your pickles should be ready. If you can wait that long to eat them.

Fermented food is medicinal, so if you are new to probiotic pickles start slow with 1 tablespoon daily and work your way up to a 1/4 cup a day to nourish your guts, enhance digestion and immunity, and satisfy your salt tooth.

Scott Nystrom


Scott Nystrom is a registered holistic nutritionist and chef who pours his passion for food into everything he does. Whether its cooking an intimate or interactive dinner party for 8, or catering appetizers or a wedding for 80, Scott infuses his globally inspired meals with love and local ingredients. From food education to food medicine, Scott empowers his clients and students to reconnect with their food and make eating an experience that will nourish the body, mind, and spirit. His website is and you can email him at Follow him on facebook: nourished edible wellness and instagram: nourished chef
Read more by Scott Nystrom

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