Tag Archives: rutabaga

Root Veggie 101

Hello Harvesters

As the cooler weather approaches, we are going to start seeing an influx of root vegetables into the harvest boxes. Whether it’s beet, celery root, turnip, or rutabaga, these hardy foods thrive in the winter because of their resistance to cold. Some of our less adventurous friends express some disappointment when root veggie season rolls around- “awww, rutabaga again?” – but here at PCH we think root veggies are awesome. All it takes is a bit of root veggie know-how to keep these foods interesting over the long winter. Let’s start with the basics.

 

The Beet

"Beets-Bundle" by Evan-Amos - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg

“Beets-Bundle” by Evan-Amos – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg

Beets are sweet, juicy root veggies that have the consistency slightly thicker than a potato, but with a much sweeter taste. Beets are the primary ingredient in the traditional Ukrainian soup called borscht, a stew-like dish with beets, potatoes, carrots, and beef or pork broth. Boiled, cubed, and chilled beets also make excellent additions to spinach salads in the fall, and beet greens can also be eaten sautéed. They come in many varieties, including red, gold, and “Chiogga”, the type that exhibits beautiful red and white spirals when sliced in cross-section. Be careful when cooking with red beets, as the juice can put bright magenta stain on your clothing.

 

The Turnip

By thebittenword.com (http://www.flickr.com/photos/galant/2622027467/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By thebittenword.com (http://www.flickr.com/photos/galant/2622027467/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 The turnip is a white and pink taproot of Brassica rapa. It grows partially under and above ground, with the underground part remaining white and the above ground part turning colors, usually pink. In southern cuisine, turnip greens are sometimes eaten boiled like collard greens. Turnips have a spicy kick to them, almost like a radish, and this can be a great addition to a beef stew.

 

The Rutabaga

By pin add (Swede (The Vegetable)  Uploaded by nesnad) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By pin add (Swede (The Vegetable) Uploaded by nesnad) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Rutabagas look quite similar to turnips, but the colored top of the root tends to be a darker, more muted purple rather than pink, and the white subterranean part of the root tends to be a more yellowish cream color. The flavor of a rutabaga is milder than a turnip, with less radish-like kick. Rutabagas are good for adding substance to soups and stews, or for roasting on their own.

 

Celery Root

By Jamain (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jamain (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Celery root (or celeriac) is a variety of celery that is grown for its large edible root. It has a spicy, bitter celery taste, but a texture more like a turnip or a rutabaga. Celeriac makes an excellent addition to stocks, and tastes great sliced thin and roasted with salt.

 

 

Let us know which is your favorite root veggie!

 

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This week, we are going to explore some new and exciting facts about the Rutabaga, also known as the Swedish turnip, or simply, swedes.

450px-Traditional_Cornish_Jack-o'-Lantern_made_from_a_turnip

Courtesy of Bodrugan

This vegetable most likely originated in Sweden, where it grew wild. It is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, so not only can the root be eaten, but the greens often are as well.

In Ireland, it was also the original Jack-o-lantern. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the culture began to switch to using pumpkins instead.

In my opinion, way creepier than a Jack-o-lantern.

ANTICANCER PROPORTIES

Along with giving us a spooky holiday tradition, Rutabagas are invaluable to your health. It is a member of the vegetable family crucifiers, which is high in cancer fighting agents.

The Rutabaga is so well known for it’s cancer-fighting properties, the American Cancer Association recommends eating these vegetables several times a week. They’ve been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and there’s a correlation between fewer tumors and crucifier vegetable intake.

Antioxidants

Part of what makes the rutabaga such an excellent cancer fighting veggie is its reduction in oxidative stress. Very scientific, I know, but hang with me, and then you can be the cool one at parties…as long as your parties are full of botanists and health foodies.

Rutabaga,_variety_nadmorska

Courtesy of Seedambassadors

Anyway, oxidative stress is when your body generates all of these harmful molecules called “oxygen free radical.” The reason why no one likes free radicals is because not only do they kill other cells, but they also damage your DNA. That’s why eating veggies that are high in antioxidants, like the rutabaga, helps prevent cancer.

According to a study done by the National Cancer Institute, its participants reduced their oxidative stress by 20% when they added crucifer vegetables, like the rutabaga, to their daily diet.

When cooking, we recommend steaming to retain all of these healthy properties as much as possible. They make an excellent side dish that goes with just about anything. And, it’s always a plus to know you’re helping fight cancer.

 

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Carrot, Delicata and Rutabaga Soup

Ingredients:Image

  • 3-4 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium rutabaga, finely chopped
  • 1 delicata squash, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion (or leek)
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour mixed well with 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chicken or vegetable broth (optional)

 Directions:

  • Place the chopped carrots, squash and rutabaga in a medium but deep saucepan.
  • Fill it up with water or broth until vegetables are covered. Bring contents to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer until everything is soft.
  • Use a masher and slowly mash the vegetables into puree form. Stir constantly until it is all mixed well and smooth.
  • Add in the corn flour and water mixture. Keep simmering until the soup is thickened and pasty.
  • Add in salt to taste. Sprinkle ground black pepper and parsley over soup and serve.