Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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Rutabagas and Turnips

Last year, while in the produce section of the local supermarket, I purchased a rutabaga.  I did a blog about how wonderful it tasted and made a note to grow them this year. 

In mid-July I planted three rows, each about 180 feet long.  The seeds germinated, I dutifully thinned them to 5" apart, the cabbage worms came, I sprayed Bt, and I kept watching and waiting---man do they grow slow!

Botanically speaking, a rutabaga is a cross between a turnip and cabbage.  I'd say culinarily speaking it tastes like a cross between white potato, sweet potato, maybe a tad of cabbage, and a faint hint of turnip.  It's a great taste, anyway.  They kind of look like turnips but they aren't colored as brightly, have more roots on them, and they are harvested at a much larger size than turnips. 

 

The last CSA delivery of the season was last Friday.  I ventured into the rutabaga patch to see if there were any "early birds" fit to put in the day's delivery.  I was pleasantly surprised!  There were just enough large ones to fill the shares on Friday AND I got 2 monsters to try meselfeee.  One of them is about the size of a cantaloupe and the other was about 5" in diameter. (The big one just to the left of the middle is the cantaloupe size one and it may be like cutting a pine knot.)   I cut the second-to-the-largest one up and roasted it with some sweet potatoes and again, YUMMEEEE!  I peeled and chunked the veggies up into 1" squares and tossed them in a baking pan.  Then I mixed up 2T olive oil, 2T honey, 1t lemon juice and drizzled that over the veggies and roast at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until tender, stirring every 10 minutes or so.  Very tasty and simple. 

This has also been a very good turnip year.  They are firm and sweet and great either raw, mashed, or roasted.  Some people boil them but I don't particularly care for them that way.  Anyway, I love pulling turnips--it's kind of like hunting purple Easter eggs.  When they are ready to pull they pooch up out of the ground so you can see the pretty purple tops on them.

 

Several of the farm members had never tried them before and said that they actually liked them once they tried them.  It's a good substitute for a radish in a salad too!

Eating in season this time of year is very satisfying because a lot of the veggies are "comfort" food.  Personally, I think any food is "comforting" if I'm hungry!

p.s.  We're having a gorgeous fall here in Tennessee--hope everyone else is too :)

 

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