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Kohl Rabi (Bengali Olkopi)

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Botanical Name : Brassica oleracea gongylodes
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. oleracea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Brassica caulorapa. Pasq.

Common Names: Kohl Rabi , German turnip or Turnip cabbage
Bengali Name : Olkopi

Habitat: It is grown allover the world as vegitable. In tropical countries it grows in winter and in colder countries in summer.

Description:
Brassica oleracea gongylodes is an annual/biennial vegetable plant, growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate. It is a low, stout cultivar of cabbage. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked.
It is not frost tender.

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Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem growth (a swollen, nearly spherical shape); its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts: they are all bred from, and are the same species as, the wild cabbage plant (Brassica oleracea).

The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.

Except for the Gigante cultivar, spring-grown kohlrabi much over 5 cm in size tend to be woody, as do full-grown kohlrabi much over perhaps 10 cm in size; the Gigante cultivar can achieve great size while remaining of good eating quality. The plant matures in 55–60 days after sowing. Approximate weight is 150 g and has good standing ability for up to 30 days after maturity.

There are several varieties commonly available, including White Vienna, Purple Vienna, Grand Duke, Gigante (also known as “Superschmelz”), Purple Danube, and White Danube. Coloration of the purple types is superficial: the edible parts are all pale yellow. The leafy greens can also be eaten.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil[200]. Succeeds in any reasonable soil, though it is best not grown in an acid soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 7.5. Prefers some shade and plenty of moisture in the growing season. Established plants are drought tolerant but the best stems are formed when the plant does not go short of moisture. Succeeds in maritime gardens. Very winter hardy, kohl rabi withstands severe frosts and so can be left in the ground all winter in most areas and be harvested as required. The young growing plant, however, is sensitive to low temperatures and a week at 10°c will cause the plants to bolt. It grows best at a temperature between 18 and 25°c. Kohl rabi is often cultivated for its edible swollen stem which can be available almost all year round from successional sowings. There are several named varieties and stem colour can range from white to green and purple. Green forms are faster to mature and so more suitable for early sowings, the purple forms are hardier and later to mature, they are used mainly for winter crops. Very fast growing, the stems of some cultivars can be harvested 6 – 8 weeks after sowing. The plant is more tolerant of drought and high temperatures than turnips, which it resembles in flavour, and so it is often grown as a substitute for that species. Grows well with onions, beet and aromatic herbs which seem to reduce insect predations. Plants also grow well with cucumbers, the roots of each species occupying different levels in the soil. Grows badly with strawberries, runner beans and tomatoes.

Propagation :
Seed – sow April to August in situ. Earlier sowings can be made under cloches

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Stem.
Edible Uses:

Leaves – cooked. Used as a vegetable, though the quality is not as good as cabbage. The young leaves can also be added to salads, though some people find them difficult to digest. A nutritional analysis is available. Stem – raw or cooked. The plant produces a swollen stem just above ground level, and this is often used as a root vegetable. It has a mild cabbage flavour, when finely grated it makes a good addition to mixed salads and, when cooked, is an excellent vegetable. It is best eaten whilst fairly small and tender, between golf ball and tennis ball size. It becomes coarse with age. A nutritional analysis is available.

Kohlrabi stems are surrounded by two distinct fibrous layers that do not soften appreciably when cooked. These layers are generally peeled away prior to cooking or serving raw, with the result that the stems often provide a smaller amount of food than one might assume from their intact appearance.

The Kohlrabi root is frequently used raw in salad or slaws. It has a texture similar to that of a broccoli stem, but with a flavor that is sweeter and less vegetal.

Kohlrabi leaves are edible and can be used interchangeably with collard greens and kale.

Kohlrabi is an important part of the Kashmiri diet and one of the most commonly cooked foods. It is prepared with its leaves and served with a light gravy and eaten with rice

Composition :
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)

•320 Calories per 100g
•Water : 0%
•Protein: 23.5g; Fat: 2.5g; Carbohydrate: 62.5g; Fibre: 13g; Ash: 10.5g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 430mg; Phosphorus: 450mg; Iron: 10.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 80mg; Potassium: 3100mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 15000mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.6mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.7mg; Niacin: 4.5mg; B6: 0mg; C: 670mg;
Medicinal Uses:.…..Digestive: Tonic……..The leaf is digestive and tonic

Other Uses: Some varieties are grown as feed for cattle.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlrabi
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Brassica+oleracea+gongylodes

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Featured News on Health & Science

The Vulnerable Lobes

Medical students have always been fascinated by the story of Phineas Gage, a normal, hard working 26-year-old labourer. He became famous in 1848, when an iron rod pierced his skull and brain and exited on the opposite side. He survived this extensive trauma and was physically normal. His life aroused scientific curiosity as physicians suddenly realised that, contrary to popular opinion at that time, all parts of the brain where not essential for life.

The brain controls the physical functions of the body, determines our intelligence, memory, personality and ability to respond to change. It has four paired lobes. Of these, the parietal, temporal and occipital lobes have well elucidated mapped areas for functions like sight, speech, hearing and movement. The frontal lobes (through which the rod pierced Gage), situated just behind the forehead, are responsible for subtle psychological functions like mental maturity, recognition of social norms of behaviour, emotional development and appropriate responses to society.

English: Four brain lobes frontal lobe(red) pa...
English: Four brain lobes frontal lobe(red) parietal lobe(orange) temporal lobe(green) occipital lobe(yellow) and insula(purple) is also shown. others are Brain stem(black) Cerebellum(sky blue). Polygon data are from BodyParts3D maintained by Database Center for Life Science(DBCLS). ???: ????? ???(??) ???(?????) ???(??) ???(??) ??? ?????? ? ??(??) ??(??) ????????Database Center for Life Science(DBCLS)???????BodyParts3D??? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The frontal area of the brain is protected to some extent by the skull bones. However, damage to the frontal lobes can occur as a result of accidents. Surgery may be performed on the frontal lobes to remove cysts or tumours, to treat intractable epilepsy, or very rarely for psychiatric disorders. The effects of injury to the frontal lobes are often subtle and difficult to pinpoint as the IQ (intelligence quotient) may remain normal. There may be weakness without actual paralysis, inability to perform sequential movement (like dressing for work), lack of flexibility and spontaneity, poor attention and difficulty in expressing thoughts lucidly despite increased talking. Sexual habits may change with promiscuity or disinterest or socially inappropriate behaviour. The entire personality of the individual may change, making him or her unpleasant, obnoxious and intolerable.

The brain fibres in the frontal lobes mature as we grow older and develop fully around the age of 25. Genetic defects or injury in the uterus, during birth or within this time frame, can result in faulty connections, inadequate development and poor release of brain chemicals like dopamine. This can cause learning disabilities, antisocial personalities and sometimes even major psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia. Also the size of our brain, particularly of the frontal lobes, shrinks over time. This affects important human abilities such as planning, reasoning and problem solving.

Not all brains age or deteriorate at the same rate. Part of this process is genetic and the degeneration sets in at a certain chronological age triggered by an in-built biological alarm. This apparently inevitable mental decline is further influenced by environmental factors, which can be modified favourably.

The concept of retraining ageing brain circuits has been gaining popularity. There are DVDs and books available on brain exercises. The numbers game Sudoku is in almost every newspaper. Retraining the frontal lobes can also be done quite simply by memorising passages or poetry from books. Repetition of a task makes performance rapid and more efficient with less room for error, as the cascading chemical reactions in the brain then occur on accustomed pathways. Older adults who regularly participate in cognitive activity improve their memory, speed of thought and attention span. This helps them to efficiently manage their day-to-day activities and their finances. The benefits of brain training can be enhanced by regular physical activity.

Look after your brain as it is the only one you have.

* Protect it from injury by wearing seat belts and using helmets.

* Do not hit anyone on the head (this particularly includes corporal punishment).

* If anyone has had an accident or brain surgery, tolerate their idiosyncrasies, changes in personality, unreasonable anger and emotional outbursts.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)