Kholrabi is a delicious vegetable that is part of the Brassica genus. Amongst other nutrients, it provides you with vitamin C, phosphorous, potassium and calcium at appreciable levels. If you have never had it, I would describe the taste as a cross between a cabbage and a radish.
Raw, the texture is crunchy and the taste is fresh with a subtle bitter spiciness. The spiciness is indeed my favorite part of kholrabi. Not only is it stimulating to the senses, but within this taste, there lies a hidden gem: sulphoraphane. Sulphoraphane is a powerful antioxidant that about 70% of people can taste. It has been reported to have anticancer effects in rodent models. In addition to sulphoraphane, kholrabi contains Indole-3-carbinol. Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is easily metabolised into diinodolylmethane or DIM. Both I3C and DIM have shown promise in influencing phase I liver detoxification and estrogen metabolism. In high doses they may help to influence weight control.
Overall, this means they may contribute to a healthy functioning liver, healthy body weight and in certain cases, a healthy female hormone profile. Unfortunately in kholrabi and other members of the Brassica genus, I3C and DIM are locked up in a pre-cursor compound called glucobrassicin.
The enzyme to unlock the glucobrassicin is very sensitive, and can be destroyed quite easily by boiling, heating or cooking your vegetables. Therefore, it is very important that if you are looking to gain the maximum benefits of kholrabi, or any other Brassica genus, that you consume these foods raw. Some relatives of kholrabi, which contain I3C and DIM are kale, radishes, red cabbage, watercress, cauliflower, bok choy, turnip, brussel sprouts, savoy cabbage, mustard greens and garden cress.
What can I say…salad a day, keeps the doctor away!