Most Ontario rutabaga are Laurentian -- round, densely fleshed with a bright purple and cream exterior.
Relatively low in calories, it is a good source of Vitamin C and a source of folacin and fibre.
Believed to be a turnip-cabbage hybrid from Bohemia, the rutabaga originated in the early 1600s. Well-suited to northern climates, it spread to Britain and Scandinavia.
The name comes from the Swedish "rotbagga." In Scotland, it's a popular accompaniment to haggis ("haggis and neeps").
Buying and storing
Look for a shiny, fairly smooth surface and bright purple color. Avoid those that are woody, dull or faded looking.
Keep rutabaga in a cool, dry place, or in the refrigerator. Waxed rutabaga will keep for up to 3 months.
Newly-harvested vegetables should be trimmed and have leaves and green growth at top removed.
To prepare rutabaga from storage, slice off top end, cut into pieces, peel off skin and wax covering.
To microwave: prick rutabaga in several places. Wrap in paper towel; place in microwavable dish. Cook on High, turning halfway through cooking, for 14 to 17 min. (for 1 kg) or until knife easily pierces centre. Let stand, wrapped in foil for 10 min. Pull away and mash.
Pared and cut into pieces, rutabaga can be cooked with a roast of beef or duck. It can be combined with other vegetables as a steamed side dish. Or you can mash it with butter, salt and pepper, or a dash of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
Cut into small pieces, rutabaga adds flavor to mixed vegetable soups. Thinly sliced and battered, it's a tasty addition to mixed vegetable tempura.