June 23, 2012

Veggie Fact of the Day

Swedish Turnips, also known as Rutabaga is a root vegetable that is a cross between a cabbage and the turnip. 

It was first identified as a wild variety in Sweden in the early 1600s. Rutabaga did not arrive in the US until the early nineteenth century. These days, it is still an uncommon vegetable and is found mostly in specialty health-food stores. 

Across northern Europe and England, rutabagas are most often roasted or pureed (boiled and mashed). In Sweden, it is often eaten with mustard and boiled ham hocks. 

Interestingly, the Irish and Scots use carved turnips and rutabagas to ward off harmful spirits during the Middle Ages. Now, these are often carved to look as sinister and threatening as possible and are put in the window or on the doorstep of a house at Halloween to ward off evil spirits. Nutritionally, rutabaga are rich in fiber, low in calories, and are an excellent source of Vitamins C and potassium. I tried a piece of it when it was raw and it reminded me of the turnip, it was crunchy and a little pungent. When cooked it had a mild sweet flavor.

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