© 2007 by Ianqui Doodle on, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license

Rutabagas are related to turnips and have a mild peppery, sweet taste. Rutabagas are root vegetables, but the leaves are also edible and can be eaten like any other leafy green. Rutabagas look like lumpy tops with a slightly irregular shape that are 3-5 inches in diameter. Their yellowish skin fades into a purple crown. They might be more yellow or more purple depending on the variety.

Best Storage Practices:

Store in a bag the veggie crisper (32-26 degrees F) and rutabagas will last for several weeks. If stored at room temperature rutabagas will last for a week.

Fun Ways to Eat and Cook:

Rutabagas can be boiled, baked, roasted, steamed, or mashed. They are edible raw, but preferably cooked. Rutabagas can be mixed with other hearty vegetables, such as potatoes, turnips, and beets, added to soups, stews, or salads.

Selecting Rutabagas:

Look for smooth rutabagas that feel heavy for their size. Choose ones that are very firm and have no green shoots. Avoid ones with cracks, punctures, or decay.

Why it’s Good to Eat:

  • Rutabagas are a great source of vitamin C and potassium
  • Good for your eyes! Rutabagas can reduce the risk of cataract formation and support the structure of capillaries

When it’s in Season:

Rutabagas are grown in the spring and fall. Harvesting before the weather and soil become too hot or too cold is crucial for a successful harvest. They require a long growing season, and are preferably grown in the fall during cooler months.

How it’s Harvested:

Rutabagas are harvested when roots are 4 or 5 inches in diameter by pulling them from the loosened ground. Harvest fall Rutabagas after the first frost, which can sweeten the flavor of the roots.


Mashed Rutabagas—Boil rutabagas in water, salt, and pepper for 15 minutes. Add turnips and/or potatoes, continue boiling for 15 minutes. Drain well, add milk and/or butter. Smash and beat until creamy. Add salt, pepper, and spices to taste.