Have You Tried Rutabaga?

Have You Tried Rutabaga?

My introduction to rutabaga occurred several years ago at the Norwegian Pavilion buffet at Epcot in Orlando, and I suspect it’s fortunate that I first met the “Swede” (or Swedish turnip) already prepared. First, these dull- colored, wax- covered, shot put sized lumps will never attract your attention in the grocery by looking delicious at first glance. Secondly, once you undertake the task of peeling and dicing you immediately wonder if a chainsaw or hatchet might be more effective, and, by the way, safer. For me, it was good to already know the reward is well worth the struggle.

Rutabaga is a cross between the turnip and cabbage. I’d say rutabaga got its general appearance and firmness from the turnip, and it’s gigantic size from the cabbage. But, it’s taste that compels me to risk the loss of a finger or two, and to reevaluate the chainsaw option, every few weeks. Rutabaga is richer and sweeter than turnips, in my opinion, and we generally boil and mash them with a little margarine like potatoes. While cooking, rutabaga turns from a dirty white to a rich yellow color.

Rutabaga contains only 21 grams of carbohydrate per cup when mashed (15 grams cubed), about ⅓ the carbs of white potato. And, one cup mashed will also get you 75% of the recommended daily value for vitamin C, double the vitamin C of potatoes. I mention potatoes because it’s a food people with diabetes find challenging due to the carbohydrate – rutabaga make a great substitute mashed or roasted.

Go easy on the margarine and salt (and watch your fingers) and you can enjoy this healthy vegetable the Scot’s call “neeps” all winter long.

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