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Love Local Ontario Produce | Everything you need to know about rutabaga

Everything you need to know about rutabaga

Rutabagas (sometimes called Swedes) are commonly confused with turnips. But rutabagas are typically larger in size and boast a warm yellow flesh. They are often coated in a food-grade wax that extends their shelf-life.

Rutabagas are hard and dense with a sweet, mellow flavour that pairs very well with other root vegetables. Although they are most often paired with other root vegetables, as they are in the classic Sottish dish Neeps and Tatties, rutabagas are surprisingly versatile and can find a home in a variety of dishes. They can be enjoyed both raw and cooked in a multitude of ways.

How to Select and Store Rutabaga

When selecting rutabaga, be sure to choose one that is heavy for its size and relatively unblemished. Avoid any with soft spots or significant cracks in the skin. Due to the wax coating, it’s hard to pick one that’s brightly hued, but the brighter colour may indicate its freshness. Avoid any with soft spots or cracks in the skin.

Store rutabaga loosely in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to three weeks. They also can last on the counter for about a week, but cold storage is better.

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How to Prepare Rutabaga

Rutabaga is quite versatile and can be prepared many ways. You can use rutabaga anywhere a recipe calls for carrots and/or turnip. Always be sure to peel your rutabaga and reach for a pairing knife or even something sturdier, your vegetable peeler won’t help you here. Trim the top of the rutabaga and use a paring knife to cut off the waxy exterior.

Raw: Grate, slice, julienne, or chop rutabaga to add to salads or coleslaw.

Roasted: Quarter or cube peeled rutabaga, toss in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 350°F until tender, approximately 40 minutes.

Boiled or Steamed: Rutabaga can be boiled or steamed whole in about 30 to 45 minutes, or less if you decide to cut into smaller pieces. You can use the cooked rutabaga in a mash or eat as is with a bit of butter and salt.

Baked: Cut into cubes and add your favourite spices, onions and some oil and cover with foil. Bake until tender and serve as is.

Stir-fried: You can also slice or cut rutabaga into strips and stir fry until tender crisp. They’ll add a sweet crunch to your stir-fry.

Mashed: Rutabaga mash is less starchy than mashed potatoes but they can be seasoned in much the same way. Add a little butter, garlic, and a splash of cream or milk. Feel free to add your choice of herbs as well. Rutabaga mash can be added to other mashed root vegetables for some added sweetness. Or if you’re looking for something a little more off-beat, you can pair your mashed rutabagas with pureed pear.

To freeze rutabaga: Trim and peel rutabaga. Cut into chunks and add to a pot of boiling water to blanch for about 3 minutes. Drain and plunge into an ice bath to halt the cooking process. Spread onto a baking sheet and flash freeze. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container and use within 9 months.

Rutabaga Tips

  • Use rutabaga anywhere a recipe calls for carrots or turnip
  • Add rutabaga to mashed potatoes for added sweetness and texture
  • Roasting rutabaga will bring out the natural sweetness. Adding 1 tsp of brown sugar will further sweeten and caramelize them.
  • Always peel your rutabaga since they’re coated in wax for preservation
  • Use a paring knife to peel the rutabaga, a regular vegetable peeler won’t be able to handle the thick waxy exterior.

Rutabaga Goes Well With

Dairy: milk, butter, cream, cream cheese, and Parmesan cheese

Produce: apple, pear, carrots, parsnip, onion, potatoes, and sweet potatoes

Spices: rosemary, garlic, paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon, olive oil, molasses, black pepper, mustard, and brown sugar

Savoury: egg, beef, poultry, pork, and lamb

Rutbaga Serving Ideas

Mash boiled or roasted rutabaga with a knob of butter and a dash of salt and pepper as a great side dish for the holidays.

You could also serve it raw and sliced thin as a crudité or in a salad.

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Rutabaga Nutrition

According to the Canadian Nutrient File, 100g of cooked rutabaga contains 30% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, 9% of potassium, 9% of magnesium, 8% of manganese, 7% of fibre, 7% of folate, 6% of vitamin B6, 6% of thiamine, 4% of calcium, 4% of iron, 4% of zinc, and 4% of niacin.

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