Rutabaga. Many of us have heard this interesting name, but for the most part, many can’t actually describe what it belongs to! Is it a fruit? A vegetable? Maybe a tiny country in Eastern Europe?
Well actually rutabaga is a type of turnip, or at least similar to a turnip. Okay, but how do you store something like that ? That’s what we’re here for, folks! We’ll tell you everything you need to know about the fascinating, under appreciated rutabaga!
Here we go!
How to store rutabaga
Rutabaga needs to stay in a cold place, away from moisture and direct sunlight. The fridge, a cold pantry, or cellar will work well. Be sure to keep the rutabaga wrapped in a plastic bag, or plastic wrap. This way it won’t soften quickly.
There are several ways to keep rutabaga fresh and edible. We’ve outlined them below, and you can pick whichever you want, depending on your need.
1. Promptly pop rutabaga in the fridge!
If you plan on keeping extra rutabagas raw, all you have gotta do is throw them into the fridge! Not only will this keep them out of your way (they are quite large, after all); it’ll also maintain their freshness for up to 3 weeks!
Of course, if you would rather store your rutabagas cooked, the fridge is a great option for that, as well! Many folks enjoy boiling up this unique veggie with some hearty potatoes and tangy carrots, mashing them all up together, and serving them as a smashed veggie medley.
So, if that is how you have your leftover rutabaga, simply scoop the excess side dish into a container, cover it up slightly, and slide it into your fridge. Whenever you get a hankering for mashed rutabaga, all you’ve gotta do is heat and eat! Easy peasy!
Even if you have fried your rutabaga over the stovetop, baked it into tasty french fries, or made it into a scrumptious savory pie, the fridge is always going to be a great storage option. Just make sure to use it all up within a month; even the refrigerator cannot extend the life of a vegetable that much.
Read also: How To Store Celery Root
2. Toss the rutabaga in the freezer!
If you would like to keep your rutabagas for even longer, you may want to consider tossing them into the freezer. As you have probably guessed, freezing is better than cooling when it comes to storing foods. Many foods can last up to a year when frozen, and the rutabaga is one of them!
Although you can certainly freeze your rutabaga raw, you may not want to. The reason for this is two-fold: on the one side, freezing a rutabaga raw will allow it to continue its maturation process in the freezer, despite it being slowed down, while on the other side, removing it from the freezer raw will end up in a rotten mess rather quickly.
So, for long-term storage, we suggest freezing your rutabagas cooked. The easiest way to do this is to simply boil them, mash them, and stick them in a freezer proof container! Like this, your cooked rutabagas will last you anywhere from 6 months to one whole year! Pretty great, huh?
Of course, though, you’ll want to try and enjoy your rutabagas sooner rather than later; the longer you wait, the less flavorful frozen foods become.
3. Try pickling rutabaga
Now, for those of you out there who are up for a bit of challenge, we suggest pickling your rutabagas. Not only is this a time honored, tried and true way of storing foods. Pickling will also bring on new and exciting flavors to your rutabagas, making them different and delicious!
So, all you have to do is grab some vinegar, water, salt, lemon juice, and whatever spices you’d like to add (cayenne pepper, cumin, and even curry all work wonderfully), bring the concoction to a boil, pour the liquid into a mason jar already holding your sliced or wedged raw rutabagas, and seal!
Within a few minutes, the pickled rutabaga should be ready to eat, but of course, they will stay that way for awhile. After pickling your veggies, you should have at least 2 weeks before they begin to turn.
4. Dehydrate the rutabaga
This storage option, like the previous one, is for those looking to experiment! It’s also great if you’re looking for an excuse to use your dehydrator! Not that the lack of this kitchen appliance means you can’t do this one: your oven will dehydrate a rutabaga just fine!
So, for this one, you simply must slice your rutabagas into thin circles (think potato chips!), season them how you please, place them either into your dehydrator or onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, and bake! You won’t want to cook them on too high a heat, or you’ll just end up burning them into ash. So, you’ve gotta do it low and slow.
After they look all dried up, with a nice golden crisp on ’em, just let your rutabaga chips cool and store them in a ziploc bag or sealed container. In this tasty form, your rutabagas should last you up to a week!
Although this option provides the shortest lifespan, it does provide a great alternative to oily, high fat potato chips, which is always a plus!
Now let’s talk a little about what rutabaga is, so we can really understand this odd-sounding veggie.
What is rutabaga?
Also known as a swede in Europe (namely Britain), the rutabaga is actually a root vegetable quite similar to the common turnip (a great way to remember that it’s a root vegetable is to recognize its pronunciation: ROOT-a-bay-ga)! In fact, many believe that it is a bit like a combination of turnip and cabbage! Some other notable names for this great veggie include the Swedish turnip, the neep, the snagger, and (slightly erroneously) the turnip.
Rut-ed in Sweden
The reason a few of this vegetable’s names harken back to Sweden is because it is kind of from there! As it is believed to have originated somewhere in Scandinavia, the rutabaga’s very first reference in history was that the strange, large, turnip-looking root was growing wild and free in Sweden.
Something to root for
Interestingly enough, if you are looking to try a low calorie starchy veggie, the rutabaga might be for you! Lower in calories than many other starches, the rutabaga is also much more flavorful and affordable than you may think. It is actually sweeter than the turnip (but not too sweet, don’t you worry!). Plus, it is certainly large enough to provide you with all you’ll need for a meal!
The Rut of the Problem
So, since rutabagas are so large and inexpensive, you may have found yourself with a surplus you didn’t realize you’d create! If that sounds like the situation you are currently in, don’t fret! You do not have to throw out your excess rutabagas! All you’ve gotta do is store them!
All you have to do is follow the steps we discussed above, and you’re set ! If you’ve got any other food curiosities be sure to check the related articles below, we’re always adding more food facts to make your life that much easier.