Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rutabagas

I've always been curious about rutabagas. Well, actually, I've never been curious about rutabagas and have never given them much thought until recently when Miss Landers brought some over from her garden for us to try. This was her first time growing them and she was curious about how they compared with turnips, so she also brought turnips that she had grown.

A bit of research revealed that rutabagas are a natural cross between turnips and wild cabbage. They are a relatively new plant in that the first time they are mentioned in literature is in the early 1600's. They go by many names including yellow turnips and swedes because Sweden is a top producer. (Can you guess they like to grow in colder weather?) The name “rutabaga” is derived from an old Swedish word meaning “root bag.”

Notice the multiple roots and yellow tint of the rutabaga.

How about our turnip vs. rutabaga comparison? This is what we observed. Miss Landers said that as she was pulling them (both root vegetables) that the rutabagas seemed to have more roots and root hairs. Both were pungent when raw and smelled like a cross between cabbage and radishes. The rutabaga had a yellow tint to it that intensified when cooked while the turnip remained white.

We were able to convince Ward and Theodore to participate in a taste test after the vegetables were cooked--which was pretty remarkable considering neither one of them like turnips.They weren't too sure that they wanted to sample anything called yellow turnips. However, they did sample them right along with Miss Landers and me.

We all agreed that the rutabaga had a definite potato taste. Theodore said that the rutabaga tasted as if it were a cross between potatoes and brussel sprouts. A fairly apt description. Theodore and I liked the turnips better with their more peppery taste while Ward and Miss Landers liked the rutabagas better with their milder taste and creamier texture.

In conclusion, will I start adding rutabagas to my grocery list on a regular basis? No. But will I now have something new to talk about when there is a lull in the conversation? Yes. :)

Notice they white color of the cooked turnips and the yellow color of the rutabaga.
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4 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to try to cook different root vegetables, and I have yet to try rutabagas or turnips. Thanks for the low down.

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  2. If you find a turnip that has had just the right growing season, it can't be beat--sweet with a mild peppery taste. (Sometimes they are bitter.) We usually just boil them with a little butter and salt. Theodore want to try roasting both turnips and rutabagas. We plan to do that soon.

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  3. I loved your post. I haven't had turnip in years. Growing up in Ireland we ate them weekly. I loved a few slices raw before my mum cooked them. When cooked we mashed them with potatoes and added butter and salt...I am now going to have to buy some when I go shopping and mash them with potatoes.

    I thought I hadn't eaten rutabaga until you mentioned they are sometimes called swedes. I remember my mum usung the term a lot and sometimes the "turnips" looked yellowy-orange in the potatoes. So I guess I've eaten a lot of rutabaga :)

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  4. I usually have turnips cut up and boiled with salt and butter--never mashed. That is until one time I was visiting and took a big helping of what I thought was mashed potatoes but they were turnips. Boy, were my taste buds confused.

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