Rutabagas are a favorite cool weather root vegetable. The rutabaga was developed and originally cultivated in 17th century Bohemia as a rare cross between a turnip and a cabbage. European farmers of this time began growing the turnip-like root for its value as cattle fodder, but soon its mild, sweet flavor was found agreeable for culinary use. In Sweden, rutabagas became so commonly cultivated that they acquired the name "Swedish turnip." Rutabaga seeds are easy to grow and plants thrive in cooler temperatures. Winter season dishes like porridge and vegetable bakes are livened with the addition of rutabagas. Mash them just like potatoes, add chunks to soups and stews, or bake in savory or sweet casseroles. Even the tops are edible and make tasty saute├ęd greens. Excellent for storing over winter in a root cellar, you will find rutabaga a great addition to cold season farmers markets.

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