Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


Rutabaga Groove

You gotta love a food that sounds like a dance, a raunchy one at that. Actually, rutabagas are pretty tame, like a potato, and they have a culinary vocabulary in common: gratins, purees and soup.

IMG_9710 IMG_9724 IMG_9747 Rutabagas are in season, a reason to celebrate for those who eagerly await their return each fall. We’re growing them in our garden and they’re just now ready for harvesting; you’ll find them at farmer’s markets during the next few weeks. Traditionally they’re harvested in the fall and then waxed in order to preserve through the winter. Another Brassica, rutabagas are supposedly a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. Are they a very very close cousin to the turnip? Seems so. They’re also known as Swedish, wax or yellow turnips. (Poppy’s previous post, Getting Down to Brassicas, provides more in-depth brassica information.)

When cooked and pureed they’re silky smooth, earthy in flavor, and slightly sweet like a carrot. Comfort food. Use rutabagas in gratins along with potatoes and in soups to liven and add depth of flavor, or on their own.

This puree is simple and elegant:

Peel and cube rutabagas/ 4 – 5 medium sized will serve four/ boil in salted water until tender/ drain and place back in the pan for mashing or into a food processor/ mash by hand or process, gradually adding warmed milk, cream or buttermilk until consistency is of a soft puree/ stir in a little cheese if you like, gruyere, cheddar or blue are especially good. Not too much though or the rutabaga essence is lost.

A little obscure, but this is a root vegetable worth discovering. We had the luscious puree with steamed rutabaga greens and a piece of salmon from Loki fish. Bon appetite.

Wikipedia, Rutabaga: Prior to pumpkins being readily available in the UK and Ireland (a relatively recent development), swedes/rutabagas were hollowed out and carved with faces to make lanterns for Halloween. Often called “jack o’lanterns”, or “tumshie lanterns” in Scotland, they were the ancient symbol of a damned soul.a mix - - - Oct- 08 24

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4 Responses »

  1. Great post. I have never tried rutabagas and am intrigued by the puree. How have they done in the garden?

  2. We made this last night and it was delicious. It was “wetter” than mashed potatoes. Is that how yours was?

  3. What a delight it is to visit your blog and discover nonpartisan recipes, read about veggies that won’t affect Election Day polls, and see pictures of beautiful vegetables instead of candidates’ faces and banners! Thank you for emotional and mental refreshment throughout this exhausting election year –

  4. Poppy, I don’t think potatoes puree so well, they turn sort of gummy. So, yes, when you puree rutabagas they’re definitely of a different consistency than a mashed potatoes. You could make a puree ‘wet’ or dryer depending on preference.
    And Judy, I guess you missed the subliminal message embedded in the title ‘rutabaga groove’. It contains most of the letters in the name of our next pres.