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It’s time to try a rutabaga

What is a Rutabaga? Rutabagas are a vegetable that is a relative to a turnip. They are larger, denser and sweeter than a turnip. Rutabagas have a lumpy, irregular shape with a tan skin, and a dark purple band at the crown. Rutabaga are members of the “cruciferous vegetables: These vegetables (like broccoli, cabbage and Brussel sports) have nutrients that may be cancer-fight and go0d for your health. Why would you want to try such an ugly looking vegetable? Rutabagas are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium, fiber and vitamin A. Rutabagas are low in calories and fat. This root vegetable has a sweet and mildly peppery fresh taste that would make a great side dish for many entrees. They are very tasty in salads, soups and stews. Rutabaga can be found year-round and are inexpensive. When choosing a rutabaga, look for firm, smooth vegetables with a round oval shape. They should feel heavy for their size. Avoid ones that punctures, deep cuts, cracks or decay.

PREPARATION TIPS

Rutabagas can be eaten raw, but large ones may have a strong flavor.

When found in grocery stores, there is wax on the skin to prevent loss of moisture. The wax and skin must be peeled before cooking.

Rutabagas mix well with other root vegetables and can be roasted along with carrots, potatoes and turnips or added to a stew.

Rutabaga can be baked, roasted, stir-fried, boiled, steamed or microwaved.

Rutabagas keep well. Refrigerate in a plastic bad for two weeks or more. If they are stored at room temperature, they will last a week.

PAN COOKED RUTABAGAS

Ingredients:

— 1 pound of rutabagas

— 1 T. of olive oil

— 3 cloves garlic (peeled and halved)

— 1 tsp of sugar

— 1/3 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

— 1/2 tsp of dried rosemary

— Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Peel and cut rutabaga into 1/2 inch think slices. Steam the rutabaga over boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain. In a large skillet, heat oil and add garlic and cook until browned. Add rutabaga and sugar. Cook for 6 minutes. Add broth, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, uncovered until rutabagas are tender.

Serves 4. Each 1/2 cup serving has 102 calories, 4 grams of fat and 4 grams of dietary fiber.

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Laurie Welch is a nutrition and family issues educator with Penn State Cooperative Extension,

570-726-0022.

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