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Mar 10, 2012 02:14 PM

Cooking time for Rutabaga?

I tried to cook Rutabaga 4 minutes in the microwave. It tasted good but I suffered pretty severe nausea afterwords. Online I found out Rutabaga contains cyanoglucosides.
What is the minimal cooking time for Rutabaga to remove most of the cyanoglucosides?
Does the peeled surface contain higher levels of cyanoglucosides?


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  1. I'm not sure about the microwaving. I made quite a bit this winter though by peeling and then boiling in salted water until it was soft. Same way you might cook other root vegetables. I never had any nausea but I don't know about the exact cooking time that might prevent this. I always boiled mine for around 10 minutes cut into small cubes. Sorry you're not feeling well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JeremyEG

      I'm fine now but it was scary when my eyesight was affected.

    2. Rutabaga usually is coated with wax that must be removed by peeling. Could that have been part of the problem? Then cook until soft to the core when skewered.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Joebob

        The surface was pretty rough so I don't think it was coated with wax.
        I also used a peeler and cut it into cubes before putting it in the microwave.

      2. I find interesting in wikipedia where it says Like rutabaga, turnip contains bitter cyanoglucosides that release small amounts of cyanide. Sensitivity to the bitterness of these cyanoglucosides is controlled by a paired gene. Subjects who have inherited two copies of the "sensitive" gene find turnips twice as bitter as those who have two "insensitive" genes, and thus may find turnips and other cyanoglucoside-containing foods intolerably bitter." When they refer to "Subjects..." do you suppose they mean "people"? I ask, because there are certain people whose genes will bring about Fauvism, a illness brought about by eating fava beans.
        This knowledge has brought me around to a lame understanding from personal experience that I am somewhat amiss when eating fava beans and certain undercooked vegetables. There are some vegetables that I have a rule whereby I always cooks at least 20 minutes. These vegetables include potatoes. I cook rutabaga and parsnips and celeriac 30 minutes. This is up for discussion at our house each time these vegetables are prepared.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Rella

          Very interesting Rella, I've also read about the sensitivity to bitterness of cyanoglucosides.
          The thing is I didn't find the rutabaga bitter, it just tasted sweet. I've cooked sweet potato in similar fashion but with almost no biologic response to any cyanoglucosides. I also regular use semi raw/cooked parsnips in wook dishes with no symptoms. However I do get similar reaction to ground flax seeds.
          I think I will try to cook rutabaga 20 minutes and see what difference it makes.

          1. re: zony

            I eat ground flax seeds, most every day on yogurt with blueberries. I'm very sensitive to food, but so far, ground flax seeds are pretty safe for me.

            But I have stopped eating American-type potatoes; you know, Idaho and those red potatoes, and I've been eating strictly the yams and all sorts of potato-type 'thingies" like kokuma, and the rest, which I prefer.

        2. I regularly cook swede (or rutabaga as Americans call it), treating it just like any other root veg in it's cooking time. Takes the same as turnip, parsnip, celeriac,carrot, etc, in my experience. Of course, the time taken is going to depend on how big the chunks area - I don't like them too small and aim for around 2.5cm cubes, which take around 20 minutes boiling. I also use it in a mix of grated root veg (whatever looks good in the shop, along with thinly sliced leeks) which steam in about 10 minutes

          1. I use several applications when cooking root vegetables: bake, simmer - as in a stew - or roast. Never have I noticed any untoward effects. Tonight,for example, I plan to roast rutabaga, parsnips, potatoes, onions and garlic together seasoned with salt, pepper, Greek oregano, and extra virgin olive oil. 425F/ 30 minutes. Been doing that all my married life... Now, I suppose, the power of suggestion will kick in.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              I have never roasted rutabaga (as I can remember), but I will try your 425F roasted recipe tip for rutabaga later. Today it has to be used for something else, as well as the one parsnip purchased.

              1. re: Gio

                I saved a little back of my rutabaga and parsnip and roasted it at 425F. Certainly not up to standards of perfection as I left it in too long, but undoubtedly the best rutabaga and parsnips I've eaten. Thank you!