Do you know the difference between a rutabaga and a turnip? These two vegetables have stumped many cooks, which is why the rutabaga vs turnip debate continues to last today. Those looking to add a root vegetable to their diet may be familiar with these, but their similar appearance can make them incredibly hard to distinguish.
For the unversed, rutabagas and turnips are cruciferous vegetables(a group that includes vegetables like radish and wild cabbage) that belong to the brassica family. While turnip is a turnip, rutabaga is said to be a hybrid of a turnip and a cabbage. What makes each of them unique is their size and flavor.
Differences Between Turnips and Rutabagas
One of the major differences between a rutabaga vs turnip is their appearance. Though both may seem the same, the smaller ones are turnips, while the bigger ones are likely rutabagas.
This is due to the fact that turnips taste best when they are still the size of a tennis ball. As turnips grow bigger, they tend to get woody and have thicker skin that you need to peel off.
In comparison, rutabagas are harvested when they become large. You seldom see small rutabagas in the market. Unlike turnips, rutabagas stay soft even when they become large in size.
Another difference in their appearance is their color. It is easy to differentiate the two if you know what color belongs to which. Turnips are white and purple externally, while rutabagas are somewhat yellowish-brown. The insides of these two root vegetables also differ with turnips having white flesh and rutabagas having yellow flesh.
How to Use Them?
There are many dishes where you can use rutabaga or turnip such as in soups and stews, or in certain casseroles. They are best roasted, boiled or mashed. You can roast them in the oven to make fries such as these rutabaga fries and turnip fries.
Another best way to make use of both rutabaga and turnip is by adding them to your mashed potatoes, or perhaps substitute potato with turnips and rutabagas to give it a new taste.
Aside from the actual rutabaga root or turnip root that is mostly used in dishes, the greens of these plants are also edible. Rutabaga and turnip greens differ from each other. Rutabaga greens are more cabbage-like and not as tangy as turnip leaves are.
What Do They Taste Like?
Is there a difference in taste between rutabaga vs turnip? Yes, there is!
Though they came from one family, their differences do not end on their appearance alone. These two root vegetables also differ in taste.
Taste-wise, turnips have a sharper flavor than rutabagas, with a certain tang that is similar to radishes. In comparison, rutabagas are known to be sweeter.
It is also important to note that when turnips become bigger, they tend to taste bitter too. Hence, it is best to get small turnips at the size of a tennis ball or not more than 4 inches in diameter.
Because of these differences, it is not recommended to substitute one for the other in a recipe if you are aiming for certain flavour profiles to come through your dish.
Rutabagas and turnips have similarities and differences when it comes to storage.
Let’s start with the similarities. When it comes to these two, they can share storage space in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Just make sure that the drawer is set to a humid setting so that the vegetables can last for up to 2 weeks.
No for the differences. If needed, rutabagas can be stored in a cool and dark place like your pantry and cupboards. Rutabagas stored this way can last for a week or so. However, you cannot store turnips like this since, they can lose their firmness.
Nutrition and Benefits
Here’s a simple chart of the nutritional benefits that you can get from 1 cup of raw rutabaga and 1 cup of raw turnip.
|SODIUM||28 mg||87 mg|
|TOTAL CARBOHYDRATE||11.4||8.4 mg|
|DIETARY FIBER||14% DV||9% DV|
|SUGARS||7.8 g||4.9 g|
|PROTEIN||1.7 g||1.2 g|
|VITAMIN C3||5 mcg||27.3 mcg|
|CALCIUM||66 mg||39 mg|
|IRON||1 mg||0 mg|
|POTASSIUM||13% DV||7% DV|
Since turnips have lower calories, they can be great for people who want a low-cal diet. But keep in mind that it is also high in sodium compared to rutabaga. Thus, it won’t be great for people who are into a low sodium diet plan.The nutritional benefits above indicate the different nutrients you can get from rutabaga vs turnip. This information can be used when you are planning on using these in your dietary regimen.
Rutabaga, on the other hand, is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It outweighs turnips a great deal with a higher value for Vitamin C, calcium, iron, and potassium. It also has higher dietary fiber content and protein despite the fact that it has more calories.
The Rutabaga vs turnip debate is a great discussion when it comes to knowing what you are preparing for your family. Distinguishing these vegetables from each other prevents unnecessary mix ups when cooking.
This will ensure that you create the perfect dish with the right ingredients, every time. It is ]important to tell them apart, especially since they have different tastes. Using incorrect ones can alter the taste of your dish and ruin your dinner.
Another thing to remember when you go buy these vegetables: make sure that you check for their firmness and weight. In picking a great rutabaga and turnip, they should feel firm to touch and somewhat heavy in size. Keep them in the fridge for optimum freshness.
The next time you go shopping, make sure you remember how to make a distinction between these two root vegetables. It should be easy now thanks to this helpful guide!