Rutabagas? Who eats those weird vegetables? Our grandparents did surely. If you have a relative that lived through World War II, they often will talk about the shortage of food and the victory gardens that were started to help feed people in cities across America and the rutabaga was one vegetable grown because it kept well. The Rutabaga was a vegetable that families could rely on well through the winter to keep families fed. Normally when we think of a favorite vegetable we think of something green, red or orange, but a white vegetable is also part of the rainbow of fruits and vegetables we should eat every day but when we are offered vegetables most of us will choose the colorful veggies.
The rutabaga is often overlooked as a tasteful food.
At farmers markets everywhere you will see a broad range of vegetables to choose from but rutabagas may be less popular because as cooks, we don’t know how to cook and serve them.
They are an inexpensive way to get your Vitamin C and potassium. They are a great source of fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6 and calcium along with some other very good key nutrients.
Rutabagas will keep for months in a cool dry storage place. They store well in plastic bags in a refrigerator or cold cellar.
As always, to protect yourself and family from a foodborne illness it is important to wash all fruits and vegetables before preparing your recipes.
You can use Rutabagas in soups or stews. You can also bake, boil or steam them. They can be mashed and served as a side dish or you could stir fry them or eat raw in salads. The Rutabaga is a traditional ingredient in the classic Michigan pasty – along with potatoes, carrots, onion and beef. Baking rutabagas with carrots and parsnips makes a great inexpensive fall vegetable dish.
Click Here for the food fact sheet on Rutabagas.
For more tips on buying and preparing this and other fruits and vegetables, check out the Michigan Fresh page of the MSU Extension website. Visitors to the site have an opportunity to complete a survey that is collecting information on future uses of the information and other topics to be developed.
To make a simple Michigan Pasty –
Ingredients: 1# ground beef, 3-4 potatoes chopped small, 3-4 carrots, 1 small rutabaga chopped small, 1 onion diced, S&P to taste and pie pastry. I do purchase pre-made pie crust which makes this so easy! You can brown the ground beef with the onion, and even parboil the potatoes, rutabaga and carrots for a couple of minutes. Take the pastry and roll it out a little bit – if it is in a circle, cut it in half (you can then make four from the two crusts). You can either layer the meat and vegetables or mix them all together. Place the filling on one end of the crust, fold over the other half and crimp the edges together all the way around – you can do this with a fork and some egg white or a little water on the fork helps to seal the crust together. You can even get a little fancier and crimp and braid or whatever suits you! Then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and until the crust is golden brown. I do brush a little butter on the top. Now to serve – you could make a gravy from beef broth or my family uses ketchup once we break the pasty open. Its your call! Enjoy!