German vegetables that are uncommon elsewhere

Culture

Kohlrabi

This member of the cabbage family - the name means "cabbage turnip" - is a common vegetable throughout Germany. It is mild, crisp and juicy when eaten raw, and soft and creamy when steamed and served puréed or in a sauce, soup or casserole. It's often called kohlrabi in English, too.

Culture

Savoy cabbage

It is emerald green and has crisp crinkly leaves, lots of vitamin C and a distinct taste. Savoy cabbage is great in soups and stews, or steamed as a side dish. What Germans call "Wirsing" is a staple at German farmers' markets and in supermarket produce aisles all year round.

Culture

Turnip greens

Turnip greens - "Rübstiel" in German (literally, beet stems) - are a regional specialty and are particular common in Germany's western Rhineland area and in the Netherlands. Their tender stems are chopped, steamed and mixed with potatoes or added to stews. "Rübstiel" aficionados can look forward two harvests a year - in spring and fall.

Culture

Wild garlic

This member of the Allium family - known as ramsons, wild garlic, wood garlic, bear leek, or bear's garlic - is kin to onions, chives and garlic. It grows in the forest and makes an excellent pesto. It smells like garlic, and tastes like garlic. Known in German as "Bärlauch," it is very popular in Germany and can be found in anything from soups and salads to dips, quiches and cheese.

Culture

Black salsify

Black salsify is a long, slender white taproot covered with a dark skin. "Schwarzwurzel" (black root) in German, it is also known as the "poor man's asparagus" or "winter asparagus" and is a typical winter vegetable. It is served when the Germans' beloved white asparagus is not yet in season, steamed, with boiled potatoes and butter.

Culture

White asparagus

The white vegetable in the photo above is actually asparagus. The green variety is more popular in other countries, but Germans love their white asparagus and anxiously await its arrival in spring, keeping a lookout in late April for the first stalks of their "white gold" to appear in stores and roadside stands.

Culture

Parsley root

Parsely root, which is easily confused with the slightly larger parsnips, is the third vegetable from the left, next to the black salsify. It is a winter vegetable that has been used in Europe for centuries, in soups, stews, and mixed veggie dishes. The smaller the root, the more tender it is, experts say - and it's a great source of vitamin C, too.

Culture

White radish

If you ever come to Bavaria and order a typical "Brotzeit" (bread time) snack to go with your beer, you'll find a crispy white garnish, sometimes draped in elaborate twists and curls on your plate. They're called "Radi," and are a spicy white radish that is full of vitamin C and always eaten raw. The word derives from the Latin for root, "radix." Its cousin, the radish, is "Radieschen" in German.

Navigating a German supermarket can be tricky for newcomers to the country. Germans love these tasty vegetables, but - depending on where you come from - you might not even recognize them.