There are a lot of vegetables that have weird myths around them, and it is hard to say where most of them came from. While occasionally these myths are true, most of the time they are not. One of the weird myths surrounding the rutabaga is that it is dangerous or at least not good to eat rutabaga raw. So is there any truth to that?
Can you eat rutabaga raw?
Yes, you can eat rutabagas raw. The majority of the time, when someone is eating rutabagas, they are going to cook it. Most people believe that the texture and the flavor get better once it is cooked.
Still, other people really do love it just raw, and there are no health reasons why you should not enjoy it that way. If you bought your rutabaga at the store, do not just bite into it like an apple because you have to peel it.
What are rutabagas?
So let’s establish what a rutabaga is. Rutabagas are root vegetables related to both the turnip and the cabbage. Still, it definitely has more in common with the prior. The outside of a rutabaga tends to be a purple color, and the inside is more of a white or yellow color. While the rutabaga is less common than some other vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, and lettuce, you are still likely to find it at most grocery stores.
Read also: Why is My Rutabaga Bitter?
What do rutabagas taste like?
As stated previously, rutabagas have a lot in common with a turnip, including the taste. This means if you’ve had to turnip, you pretty much know what a rutabaga tastes like; the rutabaga is just a little bit less potent.
They have a peppery, earthy, sweet taste. They are somewhat bitter, especially when raw, which is what turns some people away from them. The bitter flavor could also be why some people say that raw rutabagas are not edible. They are talking about their aversion to the taste rather than whether it is actually safe to eat.
Are there any parts of a rutabaga that you can not eat?
No, you can eat pretty much the entire rutabaga. Most people take off the leaves and throw them away or buy their rutabagas without leaves, but others do enjoy adding the leaves on top of salads.
The leaves are where the rutabaga is similar to cabbage. The one part of the rutabaga that you cannot eat all the time is the skin. If you grow your own rutabagas in your backyard, go ahead and eat the skin if it makes you happy.
But if you buy rutabagas at the store, there will be a wax coating on the peel. They put this coating on the rutabaga to prevent it from drying out, but the wax is not edible, which means you have to peel it before eating it raw or cooked.
To peel waxed rutabaga, start by cutting a thin slice off the top and bottom and then stand it upright and remove the skin with a knife. Cutting off the top and bottom slice is important because it will be hard to get any kind of grip without doing so.
How do you eat rutabagas?
Suppose you’re going to eat rutabaga raw. In that case, you will probably eat it on some sort of salad or maybe with a dip. Other than that, you don’t have a ton of raw rutabaga preparing options. But cooked, on the other hand, there are lots of options. A good rule of thumb is that if you can do it with a potato, you can do it with a rutabaga.
You can boil them, mash them, cook them into a soup or stew, sautee them, or roast them up on a tray of other vegetables. People even cut them up long ways and make french fries out of them.
One of the most popular ways to eat rutabagas is to mash them if you are looking for a recommendation. Mashed rutabagas typically do not have much of any of the bitter flavor left. Start by boiling the rutabaga to get it soft. If you want to make sure that all the bitterness is gone, add a bit of sweetness.
Add about a tablespoon of sugar or sweetener to the water. Some people use honey, other people use sugar, but you can pretty much do whichever kind of sweetener you like best. After they’re soft, mash them up and dig in.
Is it hard to digest rutabagas?
Every single part of the rutabaga is edible, but some people say they’re hard to digest. This is actually true as they are very high in fiber, which means they take longer to digest, but they are not so hard to digest that they become dangerous. You will simply feel fuller longer after eating rutabaga than other vegetables, which is why some people claim that they help with weight loss.
How do you know if a rutabaga is good?
Now, it will not matter that you can eat the entire rutabaga if you do not get a fresh one. When rutabaga goes bad, like most things, it will not taste good. They do last longer than most other vegetables. Still, if you grab a rutabaga and notice that its skin is shriveled or loose or that there are a lot of soft spots, it is probably overripe.
Keep in mind that if there are only a couple of soft spots, you can probably cut around them and still eat it, but if the whole thing is mushy, it’s time to get rid of it.
Read Also:Rutabaga VS Jicama
How do you store rutabagas?
As I said, rutabagas already have a fairly long shelf life. If you want to extend that shelf life, it is as simple as putting them into the refrigerator unwashed. Additionally, if you really want to keep them for an extended time, go ahead and freeze them. They will keep their taste in the freezer for up to six months.