A cousin to the turnip, rutabagas are a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. Virtually unknown in the United States until the 19th century, this root gets its name from the Swedish word "rotabagge" meaning round root. People have avoided this root because it is a cruciferous vegetable that becomes more flavored and odorous when cooked.
Availability, Selection, Storage and Preparation
Rutabagas are available year round with a peak in the fall and winter. These roots range from tan to violet in color and are much larger than turnips; choose smooth, heavy, and firm roots. Smaller rutabagas, 4" in diameter, tend to have sweeter flavor. This root stores for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a week. Rutabagas are usually covered in wax, so it's best to quarter the root, then peel the skin before cooking.