General Information

Not to be confused with turnips, rutabagas belong to cruciferous family of vegetables. The rutabaga likely evolved from a cross between a wild cabbage and a turnip.

As hearty rutabagas can thrive in cold climates, they became popular in Scandinavia, but especially in Sweden—the country that earned them the name “swedes.” Rutabagas are still called Swedes in European nations.   In America, rutabagas were first cultivated in the northern parts of the country in the early 1800s. Canada and the northern states are today's greatest producers of the rutabaga.

This root vegetable has yellow-orange flesh and ridges at its neck and is rich in beta carotene.  While it has been cultivated here for over 200 years, it is still relatively uncommon in American cuisine.  It is a great tasting vegetable with a delicate sweetness and flavor that hints of the light freshness of cabbage and turnip. Easily prepared steamed, roasted, or pureed, the rutabaga is a very versatile vegetable with delicious flavor that also offers excellent nutritional value.

Storing & Cooking Information

Handling: Wash and peel the turnip root. Turnips should not be overcooked, or they will become dark in color and strong in flavor. The summer turnip, when sliced, can be cooked in thirty minutes, the winter turnip in from forty-five to sixty minutes.

Storing: Turnips should be stored unwashed in plastic bag in hydrator drawer of the refrigerator. Store greens separately wrapped in damp towel or plastic bag - use them as soon as possible.

Freezing: Freeze turnips in cubes or fully cooked and mashed.  Cut off tops, wash and peel.  Cut in cubes to blanch or in large chunks to cook and mash before freezing.  Cubes blanch in 2 minutes.  To mash, cook in boiling water until tender.  Drain, mash or sieve.  Cool.  Leave ½ inch headroom for either.