Rutabaga is a root vegetable which looks rather like a fat turnip and belongs to the cruciferous or cabbage family. Its skin is golden and turns purple toward the crown, the flesh is yellow, delicately sweet and has a hint of both cabbage and turnip.
Rutabagas thrive in the very cold climates of Northern Europe, such as Scandinavia and Sweden, where it originally came from. In fact, rutabagas are called "swedes" in Europe. "Rutabaga" comes from the Swedish "rotbagga", which means something like "baggy root".
They were introduced to America's northern states during the early 1800's. The humble rutabaga played an important role breaking up the fertile, but hard soils encountered here.
Rutabaga can be enjoyed raw, grated into salads, or steamed, boiled or baked. It stores up to a week in the fridge and if frozen should be blanched first. Rutabagas will keep for months if stored in moist sand in a cool cellar.
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Heirloom. Long the standard for home and market use. Flesh is mild, yellow, fine-grained, and firm.