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January 31, 2007

Rutabaga Stories

I recently bought a couple of rutabagas on a whim recently. We used to eat rutabaga quite frequently when we lived in Massachussetts when I was a child. At some point, it stopped appearing on the family dinner table. (Probably when we moved to Florida. There is something fundamentally un-Floridian about a rutabaga.) I probably haven't eaten rutabaga for more than twenty years, and I can't say that I missed it for most of that time. I didn't dislike it (I think I've yet to meet a vegetable that I didn't like), but it was never a particular favorite.

But I've gotten more interested in cooking root vegetables lately. (Because not much else is at its peak in the dead of winter.) So I picked up a few rutabagas. I ended up using both of them in soups, one of which was very successful - I'll post a recipe as soon as I finish writing it up. The other was just okay - the basic concept was sound, but the seasoning needed a little work. I think the flavor of the rutabaga works well in soups - it tastes something like a cross between a carrot and a potato, and if you cook it in a flavorful broth, it soaks up the flavors and becomes really meltingly delicious.

While I was slicing up the rutabaga for soup #2 last night, I tasted a bit of it raw and was surprised to discover that I liked it. I think it would be great with hummus.

The rutabagas I've gotten recently seem to be paler yellow and slightly milder in flavor than the ones I remember eating as a child. I wonder if the flavor difference is because my taste buds have changed, or because growing conditions are different.

I was also surprised to discover that rutabagas have very little vitamin A, which implies that their yellow coloring comes from something other than beta carotene. I wonder what it is?

Posted by spaceling at January 31, 2007 11:08 AM

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