Bagging Rutabagas

Rutabagas are also known as swedes (from Swedish turnip), yellow turnips, or neeps. Their name comes from the Swedish word Rotabagga, meaning “root bag.” Rutabagas belong to the species Brassica napobrassica, and are members of the Brassicaceae family, along with cauliflower, cabbagekalecollardskholrabiBrussels sproutsbroccoli, broccolinibok choyrapininapa cabbageturnipsmustardwatercressarugularadishes, horseradish, daikon, land cress, and shepherd’s purse.

Rutabagas originated in Scandanavia or Russia as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip. In 1620, Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin noted that they were growing wild in Sweeden.

Rutabagas were present in the royal gardens in England as early as 1669 and were described in France in 1700. Sir John Sinclair claimed in his Husbandry of Scotland that rutabagas were introduced to Scotland around 1781–1782. An article on the topic in The Gardeners’ Chronicle suggests that the rutabaga was then introduced more widely to England in 1790. Introduction to North America came in the early 19th century with reports of rutabaga crops in Illinois as early as 1817.

After World War I, rutabagas were one of the few fresh foods available, and people got tired of eating them. As a result, rutabagas got an unfair reputation as a “famine food.”

Rutabagas can:

  1. Prevent cancer. Like other Brassica vegetables, rutabagas contain phytochemicals that remove carcinogens from your body and help your liver process toxins. One such compound, glucosinolate, may inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors. Oxalic acid, another phytochemical in rutabagas, is believed to be successful in fighting several kinds of tumor cells.
  2. Fight free radicals. Rutabagas are also a good source of antioxidants, which help prevent free radical damage to your cells and DNA. One cup of rutabaga provides over 50% the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant known to boost you immune system and prevent illness and disease. Like most Brassica vegetables, rutabaga also contains carotenoids, which help stimulate antioxidant activity.
  3. Support digestive health. Rutabagas are a good source of fiber, which helps support you digestive system. One cup of rutabaga offers about 12% the DV of fiber. Fiber is essential to colon health, digestion, and maintaining a healthy metabolism. The glucosinolates found in rutabaga may also help your stomach process bacteria like Helicobacter pylori and contribute to the production of bile.
  4. Promote heart health. One serving of rutabaga offers about 6% the DV of potassium, which supports heart health. It also helps promote bone strength, aids in energy production, and supports a healthy metabolism.
  5. Promote weight loss. Low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods are healthy additions to effective weight loss programs. High-fiber foods also support your metabolism and help regulate body weight.

Nutrients in 100 Grams Raw Rutabaga Root

Nutrient

Amount

Daily Value

vitamin C

25 mg

42%

potassium

337 mg

10%

fiber

2.5 g

10%

manganese

0.2 mg

9%

phosphorus

58 mg

6%

magnesium

23 mg

6%

thiamine

0.1 mg

6%

calcium

47 mg

5%

folate

21 µg

5%

vitamin B6

0.1 mg

5%

niacin

0.7 mg

4%

carbohydrates

8.1 g

3%

iron

0.5 mg

3%

Calories

36

2%

protein

1.2 g

2%

zinc

0.3 mg

2%

pantothenic acid

0.2 mg

2%

riboflavin

0.04 mg

2%

copper

0.032 mg

2%

sodium

20 mg

1%

selenium

0.7 µg

1%

vitamin E

0.3 mg

1%

fat

0.2 g

0.3%

vitamin K

0.3 µg

0.04%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Rutabagas are available year round with a peak in the fall and winter. They range from tan to violet in color and are much larger than turnips. Select smooth, heavy, and firm roots, with no holes or bruises. Smaller rutabagas, 4″ in diameter, tend to have sweeter flavor. This root stores for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a week. In grocery stores, rutabagas are usually covered in wax, so it’s best to quarter the root, then peel the skin before cooking.

To prepare, simply trim the ends and peel off the skin with a vegetable peeler. The rutabaga can be boiled and mashed, roasted, grated raw into salads, and cooked into soups. Here are some ways rutabaga is enjoyed around the world:

  • In Finland, they are roasted and served in a casserole called lanttulaatikko. They’re also served in soups.
  • In Sweden and Norway, rutabagas are cooked and mashed with potatoes and carrots in rotmos (“root mash”).
  • In Scotland, rutabagas and potatoes are boiled and mashed separately to make a dish called “tatties and neeps.”
  • In Canada, rutabagas are baked into savory pies.

Recipes

Try this Rutabaga Gratin.


This blog uses the latest nutritional data available from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration), as well as nutritional data provided by food growers and manufacturers about their products. We believe the information on this website to be accurate. However, we are not responsible for typographical or other errors. Nutrition information for recipes is calculated by Living Cookbook based on the ingredients in each recipe based on statistical averages. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

This blog is not a substitute for the services of a trained health professional. Although we provide nutritional information, the information on this blog is for informational purposes only. No information offered by or through this blog shall be construed as or understood to be medical advice or care. None of the information on this blog should be used to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease. Consult with a health care provider before taking any product or using any information on this blog. Please discuss any concerns with your health care provider.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s