Food of the Month: Turnip and Rutabagas

Every month, The Stop highlights a nutritious, in-season food. For January, you’ll find turnips and rutabaga in our Food Bank hampers, at our hands-on food demos, and in every lunch served at our Drop-in meal programs.

Turnip and Rutabaga

A rutabaga was called a Swede or yellow turnip, until 1967 when its name was changed to avoid confusion with the turnip. Rutabagas are larger, yellow fleshed with a purple top and are usually waxed for winter storage. A turnip is a smaller cousin of the rutabaga. It has white flesh, with a purple trimming.

Both of these root vegetables are members of the Brassica family, which includes cabbages, but the rutabaga is probably a hybrid of a cabbage and a turnip. Turnips are usually white-fleshed with white or white and purple skin. … Rutabagas are sweeter than turnips.

Rutabagas are a hearty vegetable packed with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. They promote feelings of fullness, which can prevent weight gain. Furthermore, they contain powerful compounds that help fight inflammation, prevent premature aging, and are associated with a reduced risk of various cancers.

Turnips are a cruciferous vegetable with multiple health benefits. They boast an impressive nutritional profile, and their bioactive compounds, such as glucosinolates, may support blood sugar control, protect against harmful bacteria, and provide anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects.


Ratabaga and Turnip Mash

Using a very sharp knife, cut a small slice off one side of rutabaga. Rest rutabaga on the sliced side for stability. Holding rutabaga firmly with a dish towel, cut into several slices using a rocking motion with rutabaga and knife. Peel slices using a potato peeler or sharp paring knife. Chop to desired size.


1 pound rutabagas, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
 6 cups water
 1 1/2 pounds turnips, peeled and chopped
 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 6 tablespoons butter
 1/2 cup of cream or milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

How to Make It

Combine rutabagas, 1 tsp. salt, and 6 cups water in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, and cook 25 minutes.
Add turnips, and cook 20 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Drain.
Combine vegetables, cheese, and next 4 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; mash with a potato masher (or beat at medium speed with an electric mixer) to desired consistency.  Enjoy!