Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Swedes are Coming! The Swedes are Coming!

The Swedes are coming!  The Swedes are coming and I am coming  with them too.  There are too many things going on in the garden that I like to record and share with you.

The Swedes are known as rutabagas in the Americas and Canada. Some say that they are a cross between wild cabbage and turnips.  Granted, they do have red tops.

Because the rutabaga grew best in cooler climates, they became popular in Scandinavia and especially in Sweden where they received their name "Swede."

In the last few years, I've grown rutabagas more or less out of curiosity.  It is not a particular popular vegetable but it has many uses.  Mainly I cube them and cook them with potatoes and they add a little extra flavor and texture to soups and stews.

Furthermore, they freeze very well when peeled, cubed, and blanched and cooled under running tap water.  Then I bag 'em and put them into the freezer for later use.

While I was searching for Swedish recipes for the holidays, this is what I found for making a rutabaga casserole:

Peel and cube about 1.5 kg (3 lbs) of rutabaga and cook until soft enough to mash.  I used some of the water that they were cooked in to moisten the mash.

In a bowl, I combined 1 dl ( 1/2 cup) of cream, touch of sugar or syrup, 1 slightly beaten egg with a dash of nutmeg, added the rutabaga mash into a baking dish and covered with bread crumbs.  I baked it for 1 hour in a 375 Fahrenheit degree oven.

Last fall, I sowed three short rows of rutabaga and thinned them out as they grew.  It takes about 7 days for them to germinate and about 72 - 100 days to maturity depending on the weather.  It is still recommended that rutabagas be sown in Zone 9.

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