A Winter Wonder
By Fiona Breslin
In winter, when other veggies are taking the season off, the healthy antioxidant rich rutabaga, the turnip’s orange cousin, comes to market. Rutabaga is a vegetable that for many reasons doesn’t deserve its near anonymity. The best of these reasons is that a single cup of cooked rutabaga contains 53% of the daily value of vitamin C, a boon for the immune system in cold and flu season, and for anyone in treatment. Rutabaga is also rich in B vitamins, fiber, and potassium. Despite its ruddy appearance, rutabaga develops a natural sweetness with cooking.
A rutabaga is round, with yellow-orange flesh. The smaller the blub the sweeter it is. Look for heavy, firm roots with blemish free skin. Always peel before using to remove a waxy outer layer the vegetable can sometimes have. Root vegetables can last 1-3 weeks in the fridge.
Cooking brings out rutabaga’s natural sweetness. For a delicious light main dish, try our version of the Italian veggie stew Giambotta, made with rutabaga and celeriac. You can also roast, steam, or mash rutabaga. To roast, cut the vegetable into 1” cubes and season with olive oil, rosemary and salt. Bake in a single layer on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees until golden and tender, and serve as a delicious side. You can also mash it up with potatoes or yams, and add a pinch of grated nutmeg for a super healthy twist.