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A root vegetable that looks like a turnip but is slightly larger and has a coarser texture, which makes it hard to cut. It is sometimes called a "Swede" or a "Swedish turnip" but is actually from the cabbage family. The rutabaga's skin is pale yellow with tints of purple covering a pale yellowish-orange flesh that provides a slightly sweet flavor and a brighter orange color when cooked. The flesh is firm textured and very hard in consistency, making it difficult to cut.

Rutabagas can be boiled, baked and sautéed. To prepare, use a knife to remove the skin and then punture the flesh with a fork to add sets of holes in the vegetable. Wrap the rutabaga in a soft paper towel, place it in a microwave safe dish and heat the rutabaga on a high setting for 5 minutes or so. Remove the vegetable which is now ready to cut and dice before being prepared for cooking. Rutabagas are available throughout the year but July through April is their peak season. When selecting, choose those that are 3 to 4 inches in diameter for the sweetest flavor. They should be firm and feel heavy for their size and be smooth skinned. Most commercial rutabagas are coated with a food-grade wax that is used to seal in the moisture and maintain the color of the vegetable. When stored in a cool, dry location with the greens removed, rutabagas will keep for two weeks to a month. In addition to Swede and Swedish turnip, rutabagas are also referred to as Russian, Bulgarian and Canadian turnips.

USDA Nutrition Facts

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