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turnip v. rutabaga - what do you call it?

danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 07:19 AM

I know that the word rutabaga is the correct term for what I have always called a turnip - a fairly large root vegetable with yellow flesh, a dark purple and tan exterior, which is usually sold waxed in the mid to late fall and is a traditional staple of the New England root cellar.
I know that a turnip is smaller, has white flesh, usually has a light purple and white exterior, which is harvested in the spring and summer and eaten fresh.
Now, my problem is, I have never actually heard anyone call a rutabaga a rutabaga. I've also only very rarely ever encountered actual turnips. So, I'm very curious about the regionality of these two terms. Where do people use turnip for turnips and rutabaga for rutabagas?
I'm fairly confident that, in New England, turnip nearly always means rutabaga. I have never seen either vegetable elsewhere in the US. In other English speaking countries, I've heard turnip used to mean rutabaga (Ireland) or swede used to mean rutabaga (England), but haven't seen real turnips or heard them called anything. In non-English speaking countries, I have only ever heard completely unrelated words used for these two vegetables - though in Spain, nabo is supposed to mean turnip but is actually used for rutabaga.
So, I'd like to know three things:
1. Where are you from?
2. Are turnips and rutabagas commonly eaten there?
3. What do they call these two vegetables?

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  1. s
    slewfoot RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 07:32 AM

    1. Texas.
    2. Yes.
    3. A turnip is a turnip and a rutabaga is a rutabaga. Two different, yet similar, items.

    2 Replies
    1. re: slewfoot
      Becca Porter RE: slewfoot Nov 16, 2009 07:40 AM

      1. Louisiana
      2. Yes- and very commonly available
      3. Turnip = Turnip Rutabaga = Rutabaga

      1. re: Becca Porter
        Atahualpa RE: Becca Porter Nov 17, 2009 07:33 PM

        1. Toronto On Canada
        2. Yes
        3. My father calls a rutabaga a turnip. I call turnips turnips and rutabagas rutabagas. I also grew up with a lot of British programming and occasionally use swede.

    2. Uncle Bob RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 07:43 AM

      1. Deep South
      2. Yes they are
      3. Turnips are Turnips...Rutabagas are Rutabagas
      4 Like Rutabagas Ok....LOVE Turnip Roots!!!
      5. Have some in the refrigerator right now mixed in with Turnip/Mustard Greens...Yummy!
      6. Guess what's for supper along with a grilled P-Chop, and baked sweet potato.....:)

      8 Replies
      1. re: Uncle Bob
        Bellachefa RE: Uncle Bob Jan 24, 2014 12:38 PM

        6. are they yams or sweet potatoes?

        1. re: Bellachefa
          John E. RE: Bellachefa Jan 24, 2014 12:40 PM

          Almost all of the 'yams' sold in the U.S. are sweet potatoes, but I bet you knew that.

          1. re: John E.
            Bellachefa RE: John E. Jan 24, 2014 01:02 PM

            Actually our local WholeFoods has a variety of both, with an sign explaining the flavor profiles and differences, skin color, flesh color, sweetness etc....

            1. re: Bellachefa
              John E. RE: Bellachefa Jan 24, 2014 04:39 PM

              I don't get to Whole Foods often enough to know that.

              1. re: John E.
                Bellachefa RE: John E. Jan 24, 2014 06:21 PM

                If you get a chance, I recently started tastetesting different varietals and found it interesting. They're so healthy,have a great pantry life, but don't cook with them enoughNot sure if they always have such a wide variety or if it was the winter holidays or that we have a newer larger store. Our local grocer often has an end aisle with yams on one side and sweet potatoes on the other, and they look alike too much to know the difference. Perhaps there isn't one, other then the sign!

                1. re: Bellachefa
                  John E. RE: Bellachefa Jan 24, 2014 06:53 PM

                  I always thought yams were much larger than sweet potatoes.

                  I found this article/blog interesting.


                  1. re: John E.
                    Bellachefa RE: John E. Jan 24, 2014 08:48 PM

                    Very interesting. I've bookmarked it to give it a closer look!

                  2. re: Bellachefa
                    scubadoo97 RE: Bellachefa Jan 24, 2014 08:10 PM

                    Yes they are call yams but they are not true yams. They are tubers from the morning glory family. The same family a sweet potato is from

        2. f
          FlyFish RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 07:49 AM

          New England
          In my family growing up, we commonly ate rutabagas and called them turnips, but also recognized that there were what I (eventually) came to understand were "real" turnips, which we called "white turnips." I much prefer the stronger (to me) flavor of rutabagas.

          1. absurdnerdbird RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 07:57 AM

            1. Philadelphia
            2. Yes
            3. Turnips and rutabagas ( have heard the term "Swede" as well for rutabaga)

            1 Reply
            1. re: absurdnerdbird
              Ruth Lafler RE: absurdnerdbird Nov 16, 2009 08:42 AM

              "Swede" is the name for "rutabaga" in Britain (and presumably the rest of the Commonwealth).

              Turnips and rutabagas are two different vegetables. However, I get confused about which one is which, so it may very well be that what *you* call a turnip is actually a rutabaga (or vice versa).

            2. tracylee RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 09:42 AM

              1. Oregon
              2. Yes
              3. Turnip=turnip, Rutabaga=rutabaga - however, my Grandmother, from Pennsylvania refers to rutabagas as swedes.

              1. Karl S RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 10:29 AM

                My parents are from CT, but I grew up on Long Island. My maternal grandmother was from Ireland.

                We called rutabagas turnips, and never encountered fresh white/purple turnips. Rutabagas were a staple of the Thanksgiving table: riced/mashed with potatoes and some apple and butter and S&P and put back in the oven to caramelize a bit.

                I much prefer rutabagas to white/purple turnips. I know many other people have the opposite preference.

                1. c
                  cheesemaestro RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 11:15 AM

                  I grew up in New England and now live in Pennsylvania. Out here both are eaten, but more turnips than rutabagas. We also occasionally get the red or pure white varieties of turnips.

                  Turnips and rutabagas are not the same. Despite the resemblance, they are different (although related) species of plants. I prefer turnips, particularly small ones that are more tender and less "bitey."

                  1. chicgail RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 12:13 PM

                    1. Illinois
                    2. Somewhat commonly; certainly commonly available
                    3. A turnip is a turnip. A rutabaga is a rutabaga.
                    They look different, taste different and are priced and sold differently.

                    I'm actually surprised to learn that for some of you they have the same name.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chicgail
                      danieljdwyer RE: chicgail Nov 16, 2009 12:27 PM

                      It's not that they have the same name in New England. I've only ever heard turnip used to mean rutabaga here. I've never seen actual turnips in a grocery store here, or on a menu, or in anyone's home. I have seen actual turnips a few times at farmers markets, and I used to buy them from a farm directly. In these cases, they were never just called a turnip, but were called by the specific variety (Teltow turnip, May turnip, seven top, white globe, et cetera). If something is just called a turnip, it is always a rutabaga.

                    2. h
                      Harters RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 01:15 PM

                      1. Britain
                      2. Yes
                      3. Smaller white fleshed veg are turnips. Larger yellow fleshed ones are swedes. Except in Scotland where both are commonly called turnips (or, more usually, neeps)

                      1. pikawicca RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 01:33 PM

                        I grew up (product of California parents, but lived all over the place) calling a turnip a turnip, and a rutabaga a rutabaga, Back in those days, it was an important distinction for me -- loved rutabagas, hated turnips.

                        1. b
                          Beckyleach RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 01:35 PM

                          My father was from Massachusetts. He always distinguished between rutabagas and turnips and made us endure the damned rutabagas EVERY single Thanksgiving.

                          My mother was from Texas. She loved turnips and turnip greens (another horrible smell that I did not love as a chid, but do now...) and I doubt she'd ever laid eyes on a yellar baga till she met and married that damned Yankee. ;-)

                          1. pdxgastro RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 01:51 PM

                            I never had either growing up in an Italian household. I was introduced to the Swede/Rutabaga in England, pan roasted in the juices of a hunk of beef. Dee-licious! I bet I wouldn't have liked it as much if it had been boiled and mashed.

                            1. j
                              jmholsin RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 02:07 PM

                              1. Indiana hoosier here.
                              2. I don't know how commonly they are eaten, but they are widely available in both grocery stores and farmer's markets. For my own tastes -1 for turnips, +1 for rutabagas!
                              3. As the trend goes turnip=turnip, rutabaga=rutabaga. It was a long time before I was even aware that they were related veg.

                              1. Jen76 RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 02:13 PM

                                1. Born/raised in Milwaukee; now live in Metro-Phoenix

                                2. I don't know if they are commonly eaten, but I almost always see them both in most grocery stores.

                                3. Turnip = Turnip, Rutabaga = Rutabaga

                                My grandfather grew up on a farm in Northwestern WI during the depression. His parents came here from Sweden and they grew and lived off rutabagas. He hated rutababagas. I think they are quite yummy though. I'm not fond of turnips though.

                                1. s
                                  smartie RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 02:22 PM

                                  definitely a swede in the UK which Americans call rutabagas. never heard the word rutabaga till recently despite living in Fl for 5 years.
                                  mashed swedes are wonderful with loads of butter cream and salt and pepper just like good mashed potatoes. mashed swede and carrots also good so are mashed swedes and potatoes.

                                  1. v
                                    Val RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 02:42 PM

                                    1. Born and raised in New Jersey
                                    2. I don't know if they are commonly eaten there...they were always on OUR Thanksgiving table but never at any other time of the year...the presence of my Grandmother (Irish and born and raised in New York City) may have had an influence...she was there EVERY Thanksgiving to help prepare the meal. (Thank God because my mom was an alcoholic, God rest her soul.)
                                    3. My mom and grandma called them turnips.

                                    I do like them... but I'm the only one in my little family in the "here and now" who does like them.

                                    1. Cherylptw RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 03:17 PM

                                      Tar Heel State (NC)
                                      Common all over the southern states
                                      Turnips & rutabagas are completely different with completely different flavors

                                      When I was growing up in New York, my mother cooked rutabaga, cubed with bacon,
                                      s & p simmered on the stovetop like potatoes. I didn't like them back then but I do now and the way she makes them are the only way I'll eat them. I never ate a turnip until a few years ago but like them better than rutas because they're a sponge for other flavors.

                                      I like to roast them with other root veggies and drizzle on some reduced balsamic vinegar syrup.

                                      1. scubadoo97 RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 03:37 PM

                                        1. Florida
                                        2. Yes
                                        3. Turnip and Rutabaga respectively

                                        1. m
                                          MNLisaB RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 03:38 PM

                                          This is so funny, my MIL always made what she called mashed "turnips" as a T -Giving side dish. It wasn't until I did my own T-Giving that i realized what she made were actually rutabagas. I use both as a white potato sub.
                                          Turnips have a much sharper/bitter taste than rutabagas, and I have made both. when I oven roast turnips, it helps to first soak the cubes in milk, this is not needed when you roast rutabagas.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: MNLisaB
                                            Cherylptw RE: MNLisaB Nov 16, 2009 04:07 PM

                                            If you can get the tiny turnips (about the size of a baby red potato) they are as mild as a potato with no sharp taste. Blanching the larger turnips will help rid of the strong flavor

                                          2. f
                                            FrankD RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 04:48 PM

                                            1. Ontario
                                            2. Yes
                                            3. I suspect what we get are rutabagas, as they are definitely yellow fleshed, but they have always been called "turnips" since I was a child.

                                            Mom's fave prep was mashed with a bit of brown sugar and butter. Perfect for sopping up that T-day gravy.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: FrankD
                                              DockPotato RE: FrankD Nov 18, 2009 02:35 PM

                                              Also Ontario.

                                              Yes, "turnip" here = rutabaga. In our district it's a major crop.

                                              When we encounter rutabaga labelled as "turnips" in our supermarkets, and then turnips labelled as 'turnips" a few paces further, we simply shrug and move on.

                                              No-one has mentioned raw turnip sticks (yellow) which are a favourite fridge snack in our house.

                                              1. re: DockPotato
                                                Val RE: DockPotato Nov 19, 2009 07:02 AM

                                                hmmm...and I recently had pickled turnip served in a little cup next to my falafel pita...it was very good! Had never had it before!

                                                1. re: DockPotato
                                                  pikawicca RE: DockPotato Nov 19, 2009 03:55 PM

                                                  Are you saying that you snack on raw rutabaga?

                                                  1. re: pikawicca
                                                    Gio RE: pikawicca Nov 19, 2009 04:40 PM

                                                    pika.... apparently raw rutabaga is a fine veggie snack...raw....mind you. Whodah thought? I've been reading many sites which give a variety of preparations of the rutabaga including raw sticks as a component to a crudité tray.

                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                      pikawicca RE: Gio Nov 19, 2009 04:45 PM

                                                      Well, this just kind of blows me away. I've eaten mashed and roasted rutabagas all my life, but never encountered a raw offering. I will try this straightaway.

                                                      1. re: pikawicca
                                                        DockPotato RE: pikawicca Nov 20, 2009 12:47 AM

                                                        Cut a 1/4 inch round and then slice that into 1/4 inch sticks, P. It disappears faster than carrots, celery, pepper &tc in our house.

                                              2. c
                                                cbrunelle RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 05:06 PM

                                                1) Massachusetts
                                                2) In my house we ate more rutabagas than turnips.
                                                3) We call a rutabaga a rutabaga, and turnip a turnip. I've never heard of anyone in NE calling a rutabaga a turnip, but maybe when people said turnip they meant rutabaga, and I just didn't know it? I've never been in a position to look at the actual vegetable when they said it to make a positive identification.

                                                1. h
                                                  hsk RE: danieljdwyer Nov 16, 2009 09:42 PM

                                                  1. Montreal (anglo)
                                                  2. Yes
                                                  3. Turnips and turnips. Just different kinds. It wasn't until I moved out west that I found out the second kind was actually a rutabaga. I liked the yellow turnips (rutabaga) better than the white turnips growing up.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: hsk
                                                    chowmel RE: hsk Nov 17, 2009 04:20 PM

                                                    white purple top - white turnip - available but we didn't each it much
                                                    yellow rutabaga - turnip - ate it alot
                                                    Growing up, we also knew the yellow turnip was called a rutabaga. We were told that we ate yellow turnips and rutabagas were animal feed. But then we did always eat like little pigs !

                                                  2. EWSflash RE: danieljdwyer Nov 17, 2009 04:56 PM

                                                    1- Arizona
                                                    2- You can almost always find them in the markets
                                                    3- Turnip = turnip, rutabaga = rutabaga

                                                    I remember eating a turnip pulled fresh from the ground at the community garden in Tennessee as a little kid, having my dad peel it and giving us each a slice. I was so surprised that they had such a sweet flavor!

                                                    I'm surprised that we never had rutabagas or turnips much growing up. my mom was quite the pioneer whe it came to fruits and veggies otherwise. It's possible I've never had a rutabaga, in fact. This embarrasses me. I peel turnips and slice fairly thinly and serve with salt as a nosh, now I have to try some rutabagas, roasted, I think. Any other preparation ideas?

                                                    Thank you, mr dwyer, for bringing this item to my attention.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: EWSflash
                                                      Jen76 RE: EWSflash Nov 17, 2009 07:50 PM

                                                      EWS, rutabagas are great in everything that potatoes are used for. They are similar in texture when cooked, but slightly orangish in color. I particularly like them in stew.

                                                    2. Becca Porter RE: danieljdwyer Nov 18, 2009 03:48 AM

                                                      Okay this thread made me purchase some rutabagas. Anyone have easy access to their favorite recipes?

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: Becca Porter
                                                        FrankD RE: Becca Porter Nov 18, 2009 07:40 PM

                                                        Simple is good. Cube (not as easy as it sounds!), boil, mash with butter and a bit of brown sugar (I use Splenda, actually). As Jen suggested, anywhere you might put potatoes - stews, soups, etc. You just might need to cook them a tad longer, as the rutabaga is a bit tougher than a potato.

                                                        If you're feeling energetic, cut them into batons along with some parsnips, and get a nice two colour vegetable dish to go aside your favourite meats.

                                                        1. re: Becca Porter
                                                          FlyFish RE: Becca Porter Nov 19, 2009 04:58 AM

                                                          Cut into 1 1/2-inch (or thereabouts) chunks, toss with good olive oil and some S & P, and roast in the oven at 375 until tender - maybe an hour or so - turning now and then. Concentrates the flavor nicely. Add some carrots and/or other root vegetables for variety.

                                                          1. re: Becca Porter
                                                            danieljdwyer RE: Becca Porter Nov 19, 2009 05:59 AM

                                                            Think of them as something between a radish and a carrot. Like either of those, they are delicious raw, or cooked just about anyway but overdone and watery. Most people seem to boil the hell out of them, then mash them. I like them this way, but only because I grew up with it. When cooked this way, like carrots, they lose their sweetness and become soggy and unpleasant.
                                                            They are great sliced thin and treated as a salad or slaw vegetable, like a radish. They're great cut into small cubes for soups and stews, but, like carrots, are easy to overcook this way. One of my favorite winter soups is a simple root vegetable puree with rutabaga (or turnip as I will always call it) as the main component, and three to five of the following: carrot, parsnip, winter squash, apples, celeriac, sweet potato, onion, garlic, ginger, or probably just about any other root vegetable. They are also great in a braise, or roasted. They can be roasted on their own, but are at their best cooked along with a roast so that they simmer in the meat juices.

                                                            1. re: Becca Porter
                                                              pedalfaster RE: Becca Porter Jan 24, 2014 12:38 PM

                                                              Slice thinly, toss with olive oil/salt and bake rutabaga chips (much as you would with many other root veggies).

                                                              1. re: Becca Porter
                                                                John E. RE: Becca Porter Jan 24, 2014 12:44 PM

                                                                I dice rutabagas, then simmer them for about 6 or 7 minutes in water (I actually do this in the microwave, spread them out on a papertowel covered 1/2 sheet pan, and pat them dry. Then I fry them with diced potatoes, either leftover baked potatoes or fresh russets prepared in the same manner as the rutabagas. Basically, it's homefries with rutabagas. They brown up nicely.

                                                              2. Gio RE: danieljdwyer Nov 19, 2009 07:35 AM

                                                                1. Massachusetts
                                                                2. Yes
                                                                3. Smaller white fleshed vegetables are turnips, 'Brassica rapa.' They've been cultivated for more than 4000 years. Larger yellow fleshed ones are rutabagas, 'Brassica napobrassica.' It's a weedy relative of the cabbage. They are entirely different species!

                                                                Growing up in an Italian family I didn't have either vegetable till I went off to college and even then infrequently. It wasn't till I married and began to go to markets and farm stands that I added both vegetables to my larder. I must admit I do like rutabagas better than turnips....

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: Gio
                                                                  danieljdwyer RE: Gio Nov 19, 2009 08:17 AM

                                                                  I find it very interesting that there have been so many replies from Massachusetts reporting turnips being called turnips and rutabagas being called rutabagas. I grew up in Southwestern Connecticut, went to college in Boston, moved to New Haven, and am now back in Boston. My grandmother's family is from Worcester, and I've been visiting them there frequently my whole life. When I go shopping in either Worcester or Boston, and I see a bin of rutabagas, they are labeled turnips. Just about ever meal I've ever eaten with my grandmother's family between November and February has involved rutabagas, and they call them turnips. I've got a few 19th century New England cookbooks, which have multiple recipes calling for turnips. Only one of them gives a description, which makes it clear that when they say turnips, they mean rutabagas.
                                                                  Because of these factors, I always assumed that, in New England, turnip always meant rutabaga (unless qualified, like, white turnip or seven top turnip). This clearly is not true, as you and several others have observed otherwise in Massachusetts.
                                                                  So, from personal experience, family ties, and the responses here, it looks like the incorrect use of turnip to mean rutabaga occurs throughout the Northeastern United States (except for maybe Pennsylvania) and Eastern Canada. It may not, however, be consistent in this area. So now I'm wondering what the other factors are besides geographic location.

                                                                  1. re: danieljdwyer
                                                                    Gio RE: danieljdwyer Nov 19, 2009 09:34 AM

                                                                    Daniel, I'm thinking that the bins in supermarket are probably labled by people who are reading the labels on the crates they're unloading, or perhaps the manager of the dept. Now, that makes me wonder where the terminology gets crossed. The grower, the packer, the distributor, who exactly? Seedsmen know what they're growing and saving... Where do things deteriorate?

                                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                                      danieljdwyer RE: Gio Nov 19, 2009 09:58 AM

                                                                      Well, most rutabagas are grown in Ontario, and the responses here from folks in Ontario have been that they call them turnips up there. Maybe that plays in?
                                                                      But that wouldn't explain why it is not happening in the rest of the country.
                                                                      Also, this has happened to me not just at supermarkets, but also when buying from growers. Even my CSA in Connecticut called them rutabagas turnips.
                                                                      I have no idea where the disconnect is.
                                                                      I have a vague suspicion that it has something to do with the Irish. The Northeast has the heaviest concentration of Irish American heritage, and seems to also have the heaviest concentration of calling turnips rutabagas. My ancestry is all Irish, and they all call turnips rutabagas, as do our relatives that are still in Ireland. I have no idea if there is any merit to this suspicion however, as that could easily all be coincidental.

                                                                      1. re: danieljdwyer
                                                                        Gio RE: danieljdwyer Nov 19, 2009 10:02 AM

                                                                        Well...your theory is certainly food for thought. Ahem.
                                                                        The curious thing is that we buy Rutabagas at Tendercrop Farm and Turnips from Market Basket...properly labeled in each case.

                                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                                          danieljdwyer RE: Gio Nov 19, 2009 10:23 AM

                                                                          That's not that surprising. If anywhere in New England would get it right, it would make sense that it would be Massachusetts, as Massachusetts gets a lot more influx of people from other parts of the country. When they go shopping, they might say, 'Hey, that's not a turnip." Maybe Market Basket is more likely to get that sort of consumer than, say, the Star Market in Brookline. I think the Whole Foods in Brighton and City Feed in Jamaica Plain also label correctly.

                                                                  2. re: Gio
                                                                    kmcarr RE: Gio Nov 19, 2009 08:48 AM


                                                                    The taxonomy has shifted a little in the Brassica genus. White turnips are 'Brassica rapa subsp. rapa'; plain Brassica rapa is field mustard. There are a number of other subspecies of Brassica rapa, some of which include bok choy (subsp. chinensis) and chinese cabbage (subsp. pekinensis). Rutabaga is Brassica napus var. napobrassica. Standard Brassica napus is rape, the source of rapeseed and canola oil.

                                                                    You are correct that members of the mustard family have been cultivated for thousands of years and they have been subject to substantial variation induced by human selection. Kale, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli and collards (among others) are all just different varieties of a single species, Brassica oleracea.

                                                                  3. DockPotato RE: danieljdwyer Nov 19, 2009 03:52 PM

                                                                    This is in response to other posts citing a Celtic connection.

                                                                    Let's introduce 2 other names for fun and confusion given previous comments. My wife is a Scot, learned and gifted in English usage and correction of moy.

                                                                    "Tumshie" is a term of Scotland and Northern England - The Marches. Her family carved "tumshie lanterns" on All Saints Night from "swedes" or "turnips" and I guess this is where we got our Halloween jacko tradtition.

                                                                    "Neeps" in her first response were turnips = rutabagas. Yet the word 'turnip" derives from "neeps." It seems that neeps = turnips ≠ rutabagas.

                                                                    A strong recollection is that swedes were considered very "down market" in the locality as they were raised as feed for livestock.

                                                                    1. b
                                                                      bluegill RE: danieljdwyer Nov 25, 2009 06:31 AM

                                                                      1. New York, Westchester County
                                                                      2. yes to rutabega...rarely see turnips
                                                                      3. Turnip=Rutabega, frankly, I never knew "real" turnips existed or what they looked like and never ate one. Just went along with what mom and grandma called them. When shopping last night, rutabega was labeled turnip, like that in all stores I go to.

                                                                      1. c
                                                                        crazybaker RE: danieljdwyer Nov 27, 2009 03:10 PM

                                                                        1. Ohio
                                                                        2. We eat both
                                                                        3. Turnips are turnips and rutabagas are rutabagas
                                                                        In my area, turnips are sold almost all year round in my grocery store. Most of us don't buy them here because we grow turnips in the veggie garden. Rutabagas make their appearance in October and only last for about 2 months. My family rarely ate turnips, but we LOVE rutabagas! I make both, but I like rutabagas better. I peeland cube them, which is not easy. Then they are boiled, drained and mashed with butter and pepper. YUMMY!!!

                                                                        1. kubasd RE: danieljdwyer Nov 27, 2009 07:56 PM

                                                                          1. CT
                                                                          2. yes
                                                                          3. turnips = turnips, rutabagas = yellow turnips.... and my grandmother in law asks for turnips every thanksgiving meaning rutabagas..... and when she eats her fill we throw the rest out

                                                                          1. c
                                                                            Clyburne RE: danieljdwyer Sep 3, 2012 09:37 AM

                                                                            1. Nova Scotia.
                                                                            2. Rutabaga (Everyone here calls them Turnips, I just recently heard the name Rutabaga) are used more then what we call White Turnips(Turnip)
                                                                            3. Turnips=Rutabaga, and White Turnip=Turnip

                                                                            1. s
                                                                              SusanWF RE: danieljdwyer Sep 8, 2012 08:18 PM

                                                                              1. Born and raised in No. California.
                                                                              2. Turnips and rutabagas are commonly eaten here. In fact, I bought both yesterday, along with parsnips, potatoes, and carrots, to make a beef stew. They are distinctly different in both appearance and taste. I love them both!
                                                                              3. Turnips are called turnips and rutabagas are called rutabagas. I do remember rutabagas being called swedes while living in Ireland. But then, they called zucchini, courgettes!

                                                                              1. s
                                                                                sr44 RE: danieljdwyer Sep 8, 2012 08:50 PM

                                                                                1. Cape Cod
                                                                                2. Eastham turnip, never rutabaga
                                                                                3. Eastham turnip and expletive deleted. I have since learned rutabagas are delicious in their own right.

                                                                                1. l
                                                                                  lezmcq RE: danieljdwyer Jan 23, 2014 10:36 AM

                                                                                  As a Scot in Texas preparing to host my 1st Burns Supper this weekend, I was curious to this question on turnip v rutabaga after searching at my local produce dept..
                                                                                  I believe Scots call a rutabaga a turnip .. Scottish 'turnips' are yellowy/orange when cooked .. American turnips have a white color when cooked .. I will buy some rutabaga and hope it works out fine!

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: lezmcq
                                                                                    John E. RE: lezmcq Jan 24, 2014 12:07 PM

                                                                                    If you are now in Texas, I will guess that your Texas guests will be having haggis for the first time.

                                                                                    1. re: John E.
                                                                                      lezmcq RE: John E. Jan 24, 2014 12:22 PM

                                                                                      Actually John the 14 people attending the Burns Supper tomorrow are all Scottish And live within 3 miles of me .. I've been living here for 14 years but it is my first time hosting . Sadly we can't get fresh haggis due to import laws, so from a can it will have to be.

                                                                                      1. re: lezmcq
                                                                                        John E. RE: lezmcq Jan 24, 2014 12:29 PM

                                                                                        I imagine it might not be easy to get a sheep's stomach, but I would think you could make your own in a casserole with beef heart, liver, and tongue. Did you consider making your own

                                                                                        1. re: John E.
                                                                                          lezmcq RE: John E. Jan 24, 2014 12:48 PM

                                                                                          To be honest it did not enter my mind to make my own ..

                                                                                    2. re: lezmcq
                                                                                      chefj RE: lezmcq Jan 24, 2014 05:45 PM

                                                                                      Aren't Rutabagas called Neeps (as in Neeps and Tatties) in Scotland?

                                                                                      1. re: chefj
                                                                                        lezmcq RE: chefj Jan 24, 2014 07:07 PM

                                                                                        I don't believe you will see them labeled as neeps in the store in Scotland.. i believe neeps are the cooked version of turnip/rutabaga or swede (you choose!) which have been mashed with butter and traditionally served with haggis and mashed tatties (potatoes)

                                                                                    3. alkapal RE: danieljdwyer Jan 24, 2014 05:40 AM

                                                                                      1. grew up in Florida
                                                                                      2. Both commonly eaten. Turnips diced into their greens, mostly.
                                                                                      3. each called by its own name. (mom made a great chopped cabbage and rutabaga dish, cooked with some rendered bacon).

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                                                                                        pedalfaster RE: danieljdwyer Jan 24, 2014 12:32 PM

                                                                                        1. Sand Diego CA
                                                                                        2. Not sure if they are common, but I grew up eating both. Mom was from MN (if that matters) and we ate quite a few root-veggies.
                                                                                        3. We always referred to rutabagas as rutabagas turnips as turnips and jicama as jicama.

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                                                                                          Bellachefa RE: danieljdwyer Jan 24, 2014 12:36 PM

                                                                                          New England
                                                                                          turnips and rutagabas

                                                                                          sometimes our whole foods has a couple of varieties of each as well as an assortment of baby turnips

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                                                                                            maxwellsmart RE: danieljdwyer Jan 24, 2014 12:54 PM

                                                                                            1. Gaspe, Quebec
                                                                                            2. Rutabagas only.
                                                                                            3. Rutabagas are called turnips.

                                                                                            They're really good mashed together with potatoes, butter, whole milk, salt and pepper.

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                                                                                              Bellachefa RE: danieljdwyer Jan 24, 2014 01:00 PM

                                                                                              just noticed this is a pretty old thread, not that there's anything wrong with that.

                                                                                              1. pikawicca RE: danieljdwyer Jan 24, 2014 04:51 PM

                                                                                                I've always used both terms on the west and east coasts, and here in the middle. The only variance I've encountered is in the UK.

                                                                                                1. John E. RE: danieljdwyer Jan 24, 2014 05:14 PM

                                                                                                  I've heard that rutabagas are called Swedes in Britain. Does anybody know what a rutabaga is called in Sweden?

                                                                                                  Turnips are turnips and rutabagas are rutabagas. I have not cooked with turnips. I like diced rutabaga in soups and stews. I also include rutabagas in pasties.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                                                    chefj RE: John E. Jan 24, 2014 05:48 PM

                                                                                                    In Sweden Rutabagas are Kålrötter (Kålrot singular)

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                                                                                                    eamcd RE: danieljdwyer Jan 24, 2014 07:12 PM

                                                                                                    1. New Jersey
                                                                                                    2. rutabagas were on the table every Thanksgiving
                                                                                                    3. G-mother and mother called rutabagas turnips. Don't remember ever having white turnips growing up.

                                                                                                    Interestingly enough, sometimes come Fall, I've seen rutabagas labeled as "wax turnips" in several grocery stores.

                                                                                                    I like rutabagas mashed, especially at Thanksgiving. I do it the way my grandmother taught me, add a diced potato or two before you boil them. Then, when soft, mash with butter, s&p.

                                                                                                    Now I also really like them roasted, either cubed or sliced.

                                                                                                    1. q
                                                                                                      Querencia RE: danieljdwyer Jan 24, 2014 08:52 PM

                                                                                                      Rutabagas are much more common in England than in the United States only they are called Swedes (I think short for Swedish turnips). They are sold already peeled and cut into chunks, frozen, in bags. This delicious vegetable is hard to dice when it's raw so I wish I wish I wish we could buy them cut up and frozen here.

                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Querencia
                                                                                                        Karl S RE: Querencia Jan 27, 2014 06:35 AM

                                                                                                        Well, in the Northeast US, I can usually find frozen chunk rutabaga fairly easily.

                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia
                                                                                                          Harters RE: Querencia Jan 27, 2014 10:38 AM

                                                                                                          In the UK (not just England), swedes are more usually bought as the fresh vegetable. You do come across them frozen, when they are usually mixed with carrot. My supermarket even sells frozen mashed carrot and swede. I've never tried either frozen product

                                                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                                                            chefj RE: Harters Jan 27, 2014 04:34 PM

                                                                                                            It is also is found usually "fresh". I have never seen it frozen in the US though obviously it exists. It is one of the better keepers.They last for frigg'n ever in a cool dry dark place like a Root Cellar.

                                                                                                            1. re: chefj
                                                                                                              John E. RE: chefj Jan 27, 2014 04:57 PM

                                                                                                              All of the rutabagas I see in the grocery store are waxed, the parsnips are waxed as well.

                                                                                                              When I was a kid I woukd not eat a parsnip, now I like them.

                                                                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                chefj RE: John E. Jan 28, 2014 04:22 PM

                                                                                                                Go to the Farmers Market (if you can) By "fresh" I meant not frozen thus the quotation marks.

                                                                                                                1. re: chefj
                                                                                                                  John E. RE: chefj Jan 28, 2014 05:10 PM

                                                                                                                  They might have some at the St. Paul Farmers Market which operates year round, but I don't mind the waxed rutabagas.

                                                                                                                  What bugs me about the farmers' markets in the Twin Cities is that it seems like 80% of the produce is all the same among the many vendors.

                                                                                                                  For inatance, they only have pickling cucumbers and no Straight 8s or burpless. Plus, the cucumbers are quite often too big and seedy. My theory is that they don't want to pick the small ones. They only pick the big ones and by the time it's time to pick again, the cucumbers that were the right size are then too big. Consequently they only sell big cucumbers, of the pickling variety. Actually, they do sell small cucumbers, but they are gerkin sized. I want a burpless or Persian cucumber for salads or just eating. I also wish they would grow fava beans.

                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                    chefj RE: John E. Jan 28, 2014 05:12 PM


                                                                                                                    1. re: chefj
                                                                                                                      John E. RE: chefj Jan 28, 2014 05:33 PM

                                                                                                                      Yeah, I'm going to talk with the manager soon and see if they can help me out. There is a bit of a language barrier because a majority of the growers are Hmong and seem to be reluctant because I have attempted to tell my desires to their children in the past, but telling then in July or August does not do much good.

                                                                                                              2. re: chefj
                                                                                                                lezmcq RE: chefj Jan 27, 2014 10:27 PM

                                                                                                                I sure wish I had found a frozen version in my area of Tx prior to Saturday.. it would have saved me hours peeling and chopping enough for 14 peeps for the burns supper .. The day after the supper I did spot a swede/carrot frozen combo on sale at a local British stores website!

                                                                                                          2. q
                                                                                                            Querencia RE: danieljdwyer Jan 24, 2014 08:57 PM

                                                                                                            Wikipedia has an interesting detailed blurb on rutabagas.

                                                                                                            We had never eaten rutabagas until we had them on a help-yourself Carvery buffet in England and fell in love with them. Now I buy them and cook them. Just boiled and mashed up with plenty of butter and salt they are wonderful. But a pain in the *** to peel and cut up and they take a long time to cook. A worthwhile project to cook and mash up a bunch of them and freeze ready for dinner.

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                                                                                                              Nanzi RE: danieljdwyer Jan 25, 2014 12:30 PM

                                                                                                              1. Delaware
                                                                                                              2. yes(I am assuming so, as we have no trouble finding them in the groceries.)
                                                                                                              3. Rutabagas & turnips, quite different from each other.

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                                                                                                                descrite16 RE: danieljdwyer Jun 7, 2014 05:18 PM

                                                                                                                I grew up eating turnips. I use them in soup, and my mother use to boil half potatoes and half turnips in a little water, covered in a cast iron skillet.
                                                                                                                I never had rutabagas before, but I have a recipe for hash brown casserole using them that I am going to try. I bought the rutabagas today. Columbus OH

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                                                                                                                  divadmas RE: danieljdwyer Jun 7, 2014 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                  in washington state rutabagas are often called swedes. i like them but dislike the texture of cooked turnip.

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                                                                                                                    wayne keyser RE: danieljdwyer Jun 7, 2014 09:22 PM

                                                                                                                    Frank Zappa called it a rutabaga on the track "Call Any Vegetable" from the album "Absolutely Free."

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