Rutabaga is a great fall vegetable

Rutabagas are often overlooked as a tasteful food; find out how to prepare this vegetable.

Rutabagas? Who eats those vegetables? Many of our grandparents did. If you have a relative who lived through World War II, they may have talked about the shortage of food and the victory gardens that were started to help feed people in cities across America. The rutabaga was one vegetable grown because it kept well. The rutabaga was a vegetable that families could rely on throughout 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 could eat every day. At farmers markets, you will see a broad range of vegetables to choose from, but rutabagas may be less popular because as cooks, many of us don’t know how to cook and serve them.

Rutabagas are an inexpensive way to get Vitamin C and potassium into your diet. 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.

For more tips on buying and preparing this and other fruits and vegetables, check out the Michigan Fresh page of the Michigan State University 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.

MSU Extension has educators who provide community food systems educational programming and assistance. For more information, you can contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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