Rutabaga and turnips are part of the brassica family along with broccoli, kale, and cabbage! They are excellent storage crops, and have been used to sustain families through the tough winter months for generations.
Raw rutabaga tastes milder than turnips, almost like a carrot without sweetness. It’s crisp, juicy, and just a tiny bit piquant.
In cooked dishes, though, that’s where rutabagas shine. The rutabaga has a more mellow, golden appearance than turnips or potatoes, and when cooked it turns sweet yet savory — like the richest golden potato you can imagine. It’s less starchy, but still very satisfying.
Turnips and rutabaga will keep for up to a month stored unwashed in the refrigerator drawer. Be sure to remove greens from the bulb. You can freeze rutabaga for future use by first blanching cubed rutabaga then dunking it in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Place on a tray in the freezer for 2 hours then transfer to an air-tight container for long-term freezing!
First wash and scrub the bulb to remove any soil. Rutabagas may be eaten with the skin on, but turnips should be peeled. Chop the bulb into desired size. Small turnips (referred to most commonly as “Hakurei” or “Tokyo” turnips) may be eaten raw and make a great addition to salads and vegetable platters. Larger turnips and rutabagas should be cooked, and can be baked in an autumn root vegetable dish, added to stew, soups, and casseroles. Try adding rutabaga to your next batch of mashed potatoes!