How to Cook Rutabaga

Rutabaga in a basket.
Rutabaga is a hybrid of turnip and cabbage; they are a great source of calcium, potassium, fiber, and vitamins. Kinga Krzeminska / Getty Images

Rutabaga is a hybrid of turnip and cabbage. It's a root vegetable like turnip, but it's rounder, larger, denser and sweeter than turnip. Rutabagas are sweet and mild in taste, with thin pale yellow skin and a white or yellow flesh. They're basically a cold weather crop grown primarily in the northern parts of the United States, Canada and Europe [source: Undersander, Kaminski, Oelke, Schulte, Oplinger]. Rutabaga is an excellent source of calcium, potassium, fiber and vitamins. If stored properly, it can last for up to six months. Rutabaga must be washed and peeled before it's prepared. Rutabaga must be checked frequently while cooking, so they don't get overcooked. If they're overcooked, they will disintegrate [source: Leslie Beck]. Here are some ways to prepare rutabaga.

  • Baking Slice the rutabaga and place it in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle it with a few tablespoons of water and bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius) until tender. Rutabagas will need about one hour in the oven to become soft.
  • Boiling Place a whole or sliced rutabaga in a pot of boiling water. Add a teaspoon of sugar to give it a bit of a sweet taste. Whole rutabaga will take about 35 minutes to cook, whereas sliced rutabaga will take about 10 minutes.
  • Microwaving Place the whole or sliced rutabaga in a covered dish. Sprinkle it with a bit of water. Cook it in the microwave on high for about 10 minutes.
  • Stir-frying Slice the rutabaga into thin strips and stir fry them in oil for about seven minutes [source: Leslie Beck].
  • Mashing Cut the rutabaga into large chunks and place them in a pot. Cover them with water and add some salt. Bring the rutabaga to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 40 minutes. Drain the rutabaga and mash the chunks with a potato masher. Work in 4 tablespoons of butter and a pinch of powdered nutmeg or cinnamon [source: Willan].