Rutabagas are a root vegetable that has been around since ancient times. They are also known as turnips, swedes, cabbages, and even kohlrabi. The rutabaga plant grows in cool climates and is usually harvested between September and November. It is a member of the cabbage family and is related to other vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards, and brussels sprouts.
If you are wondering why your rutabaga tastes bitter, there are several reasons why this might happen.
The first reason for bitterness could be poor soil quality. If your soil lacks nutrients or if it contains too much clay, then your plants will not grow well. This can cause them to produce less food than they should. You may need to add fertilizer to improve the health of your crops.
Another possible source of bitterness is insect damage. When insects attack your crop, they feed on its leaves and stems. As a result, some parts of the plant become damaged and start producing more chemicals called secondary metabolites. These compounds give off an unpleasant taste when eaten raw.
You can tell by tasting it. Simply cut into one piece and chew it up. If it doesn’t have any flavor at all, chances are good that it was affected by either poor soil quality or insect attacks.
A rutabaga is a type of brassicas grown primarily for their roots. In fact, these roots are often referred to as "turnip" roots because they resemble those found in the common garden variety of radish. However, unlike most varieties of radishes, which are used mainly as garnishes, rutabagas are generally cooked before eating.
There are two ways to get rid of the bitterness: boiling or steaming. Boiling removes the bitterness but does nothing about the nutritional value of the rutabaga. Steaming preserves both the nutrition and the texture of the rutabagas. To steam your rutabaga, simply place it whole in a pot with water until it reaches a boil. Then reduce flame to medium-low and cover the pot. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Routinely cooking rutabagas makes them safer to consume. Cooking destroys many harmful bacteria and parasites while preserving the vitamins and minerals present in the vegetable.
When properly prepared, rutabagas taste similar to parsnips. Some people describe them as having a slightly sweet aftertaste. Others say they’re reminiscent of carrots. Still others claim that they taste just like potatoes!
Rutabagas make great side dishes. They also work very well as main courses. For example, try serving them roasted alongside chicken breast or pork chops. Or toss them into soups or stews. The possibilities are endless.
No, rutabagas are easy to digest. Just remember to cook them thoroughly so that no toxins remain. Also, don’t overcook them; this causes them to lose moisture and becomes harder to swallow.
1) Vitamin C – This nutrient helps build strong bones and teeth. It also aids in wound healing and immune system function.
2) Potassium – A major component of muscle tissue, potassium plays a role in regulating blood pressure and heart rate.
3) Fiber – High levels of dietary fiber promote digestive health and prevent constipation.
4) Folate – An essential part of DNA synthesis, folates play a key role in cell division.
5) Iron – Essential for red blood cells, iron supports oxygen transport throughout the body.
6) Calcium – Helps maintain bone density and protects against osteoporosis.
7) Phosphorus – Promotes normal growth and development.
8) Magnesium – Supports nerve and muscular functions.
9) Manganese – Important for energy production and metabolism.
10) Copper – Required by enzymes involved in protein formation.
Wax can be removed from any root crop using an abrasive material such as sandpaper. Simply rub waxed vegetables on a piece of paper towel then wipe away excess wax with another clean cloth. If necessary, repeat the process several times. Once all traces of wax have been removed, rinse the vegetable under cold running tap water. Rinse again if needed.
Peeling is not required when preparing rutabagas. However, peeling will remove some of their bitter flavor. Peeled rutabagas may still retain some bitterness depending upon how long they’ve been stored. In general, store peeled rutabagas up to one week before use. Unpeeled rutabagasses should be used within three days.
To peel rutabagas, cut off the top third of each bulb. Next, slice down through the center of the bulb lengthwise. Slice crosswise at 1/4 inch intervals. Remove the skin and discard. Alternatively, you could leave the skins on and bake them along with other root crops.
If you want to enjoy fresh rutabagas without worrying about whether they’ll cause digestive problems later, then follow these simple steps:
1) Wash your rutabagas under running tap water. This will wash out dirt and other contaminants.
2) Cut each rutabaga lengthwise into four equal pieces.
3) Place the rutabagas in a large saucepan filled with enough cold salted water to completely submerge the vegetables. Bring the water to a boil in a high flame. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 20 minutes or more. Drain well.
4) Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight.
Rutabagas are delicious! They’re easy to grow and require low maintenance once established. The only thing that might make growing rutabagas difficult is finding space for them in your garden. But don’t let this deter you; there are plenty of ways to get around it. For example, plant them close together so that you won’t need much room. Or try planting them in containers instead of directly in the ground.