picture of a turnip

Swedes, also known as rutabagas in some parts of the world, are larger in size with a yellowish-orange flesh and a sweeter taste compared to turnips. Turnips are smaller with white flesh and a more peppery flavor.

What are Swedes?

picture of some swedes

Swedes, also known as rutabagas or Swedish turnips, are a root vegetable that originated in Sweden (hence the name). They belong to the Brassicaceae family and are a cross between cabbage and turnip. With their vibrant purple-green exterior and orange-yellow flesh, swedes make quite an impression on both our plates and taste buds.

One of the things that sets swedes apart is their size – they tend to be larger than turnips. They have a firm texture when raw but soften beautifully when cooked, making them perfect for soups, stews, roasted dishes, mashes, or even as a standalone side dish. Swedes possess a slightly sweet yet earthy flavor with hints of nuttiness.

Rich in vitamins C and K, as well as fiber and antioxidants like beta-carotene, they offer numerous health benefits such as boosting immunity and promoting healthy digestion. Plus, their low calorie content makes them an excellent choice for those watching their waistlines.

In culinary terms, swedes are incredibly versatile. You can slice or dice them for salads or slaws; puree them into silky soups; mash them with butter for a comforting side dish; roast them alongside other vegetables for added depth of flavor; or even spiralize them into noodles as a healthier alternative to pasta.

What are Turnips?

picture of a turnip

Turnips are root vegetables that belong to the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage and broccoli. They have been cultivated for thousands of years and are known for their distinctive flavor and versatility in cooking.

One of the key features of turnips is their bulbous shape, with a round or slightly flattened appearance. They typically have a white or cream-colored skin, although some varieties may be purple or yellow. The flesh of turnips can range from creamy white to pale yellow, depending on the specific variety.

In terms of taste, turnips offer a unique blend of sweetness and earthiness. When raw, they have a slightly peppery flavor with a crisp texture. However, when cooked, turnips become tender and develop a milder taste that pairs well with various dishes.

Turnips are highly nutritious as they contain essential vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and minerals such as potassium and manganese. Additionally, they are low in calories but high in fiber content.

Due to their versatility in the kitchen, turnips can be enjoyed in numerous ways – roasted as a side dish alongside other vegetables or meats; mashed into purees; boiled and added to soups or stews; pickled for tangy flavors; grated into salads for extra crunch; or even used as an alternative to potatoes in recipes like gratins.

Swedes Vs. Turnips – Key differences

CharacteristicSwedes (Rutabagas)Turnips
Scientific NameBrassica napus subsp. napobrassicaBrassica rapa subsp. rapa
Common NameSwede, RutabagaTurnip
SizeLarger and more bulbousSmaller and rounder
Skin ColorPurple or brownish skinWhite, red, or purple skin
Flesh ColorYellow-orange fleshWhite or white with purple top
TasteSlightly sweet and earthySlightly peppery and crisp
Nutritional ValueHigher in calories and carbohydratesLower in calories and carbohydrates
Cooking UsesCommon in stews, soups, and mashed dishesOften used in salads, pickles, and roasts
Culinary CharacteristicsMore suitable for long cooking timesGreat for quick cooking and salads
Growing ConditionsRequires a longer growing seasonGrows quickly and can be harvested in a few months
HardinessMore cold-resistantLess cold-resistant
StorageStores well through the winterBest used fresh and does not store as long
AvailabilityMore common in northern regionsWidely available in various climates
Uses in CuisinesPopular in Scandinavian and British cuisineUsed in various international cuisines
Primary DishesLutefisk and mashed rutabagaTurnip greens, turnip soup, and pickled turnips


Image Credits

Featured Image By – Mike Mozart, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Image 1 By – shaymen99 from Pixabay

Image 2 By – Lebensmittelfotos from Pixabay

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