The under-loved rutabaga (swede, neeps or yellow turnip) has been part of the European diet since pre-historic times, and been used as livestock fodder since at least the 1400’s. It has fed folks through famine, and kept livestock alive through the winter. It may be whimsy, but I can easily visualize a young serf walking towards his hovel with a turnip in hand, or a young maid with a wooden pail of turnip heads for her cow.
The tops are highly nutritious food & fodder, but the root is a great source of fiber and vitamin C, as well as many other minerals & vitamins, and keeps really well in your fridge for up to a month.
Some people find the taste of brassicas (of which rutabagas are a family member) bitter to taste. However, their health benefits are significant enough that including them in our diet is important. I for one love the taste of rutabaga. It can be mashed with potatoes (Neeps & Tatties) or with carrots, but it does beautifully on its own. If just a little tang and sweetness are added, any bitterness falls to the wayside. So, eat your brassicas & roots, folks, all at once!
4 – 6 servings
1 rutabaga (about 2 ½ lbs)
1 T butter
1 t salt
1 T grainy Dijon mustard
1 t honey
Cut the ends off the rutabaga.
Cut it in half lengthwise (root to stem).
Cut into 1” slices
Put in a medium sized saucepan.
Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium low, and cover.
Cook until fork tender, about 30 minutes.
Return the pot to the stove; turn on the heat until for a minute or so to dry the rutabaga.
Turn off the heat and leave uncovered for 5 minutes. Shake the saucepan a couple of times during the time.
Mash the turnip well, making sure there aren’t any big chunks.
Stir in the butter, Dijon and honey.
Enjoy this historic, nutritious vegetable!