If you're like me, you grew up slightly suspicious of vegetables such as turnips and rutabagas. Mushy bowls of beige, slightly odd smelling, and unfamiliar inhabitants of the Sunday lunch table at Grandma's were enough to make a kid hide under the table – especially when compared to pork roast and homemade biscuits. Suffering through "two bites" for dessert was practically torture. Lucky for me, my horizons have broadened and my taste buds have grown to appreciate root vegetables like rutabagas, roasted, boiled, and yes, even mashed.
Closely related to the turnip, rutabagas are generally yellow fleshed with a tough outer skin. Like potatoes and other starchy vegetables, rutabagas are on the higher end of the carbohydrate scale. But this just means rutabagas are perfect for roasting and oven "frying" to bring out their natural sweetness. High in fiber, low in sodium and calories, rutabagas are also close to fat free and very high in Vitamin C – providing more than 50 percent of your daily recommended allowance in a single serving. This means rutabagas are good for boosting your immune system as cold and flu season ramps up. They're in season until mid December, so you'll have plenty of time to find your favorite rutabaga recipe.
In spite of my upbringing, I do find a bowl of mashed rutabagas comforting, steaming on the table and full of lots of fresh ground black pepper, of course. This recipe from She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named in Savannah is a pretty good approximation of my grandmother's preparation. I'll be the first to admit I have no idea what "streak-o-lean" is, and I recommend substituting ham hocks or bacon for your smoky, salty flavoring. Of course, my favorite vegetable preparation for most anything from asparagus to turnips is roasting, and this recipe for roasting rutabagas is a good base for prep and cook time. Like sweet potatoes, I think rutabagas would work well with sweet or savory seasonings as well. Try cinnamon, curry powder, or chili powder instead of Italian seasoning. And though I haven't tried this Scalloped Rutabaga and Apple recipe, the crisp apples and sweet seasonings should pair well with the rutabaga's natural flavors.
Even if you've yet to get over your fear of strange Sunday vegetables, give one of these rutabaga recipes a try, and see if your taste buds haven't grown up too.
Photo by –meredith-
As a freelance writer and copy editor, Emily Brown gets to juggle many roles, including work-at-home mom. She likes to cook more than she likes to follow recipes, and she likes her vegetables extra crunchy – no beets allowed. If she could make you anything, it would be a roasted chicken. Her baby is beyond adorable.
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