Once only popular in New England, the Midwest and Scandinavia, the humble rutabaga is making a name for itself as more people become nutrition-conscious and willing to explore “new” vegetables. Rich in beta-carotene and low in calories, the rutabaga is a cross between a turnip and a wild cabbage. Hiding beneath its tough, ugly skin is a sweet-flavored root vegetable that is easy to grow, store and prepare. Whether eaten raw or cooked, once you try a rutabaga you’ll become a lifelong fan.
Wash the rutabaga under cold running water, taking care to remove any loose soil that may be embedded in the rough skin.
Remove a thin slice from both the top and the bottom of the rutabaga with a paring knife.
Slice the vegetable in half; this will make it easier to handle.
Peel away the thick skin, using a paring knife to cut away 2-inch slices at a time. Once the outer peel is removed, the tender, light-colored inside of the rutabaga will be visible.
Cut out any spots that are tougher than the areas around them; you will be able to feel the tough spots with the paring knife as you peel. These tough areas aren’t “bad” but will be more bitter than the rest of the vegetable.
A standard kitchen peeler will not work well on a rutabaga.
Some rutabagas are coated with wax before shipment to the produce market; this will not affect the taste or nutritional value of the vegetable.
Rutabaga skin is edible but has a slightly bitter taste.