Rutabaga Plant Spotlight: Tips and Tricks to Grow and Cook for the Rutabaga Gardener and Eater

Your garden and kitchen guide to the rutabaga

We’re rooting for the rutabaga! Rutabagas (Swedish in origin) are versatile root veggies born out of breeding turnips and cabbage. They are recognized as originating in Scandinavia or Russia and were described in England as early as 1669 and in France around 1700. Rutabagas are popular in Scandinavian dishes, although they are prepared worldwide as delicious additions to meals!

Grow Your Own

Growing your own rutabagas are similar to growing turnips in that they tolerate frost and drought well. They thrive in well-drained soil and full sun. Plant them early to mid summer and water roots until they reach maturity. Limit weeds during growing, as they will rob your rutabagas of vital vitamins and minerals. Wait roughly 3 months before harvesting, when the roots are 3–4 inches around and tender. And before composting the greens, they too can be eaten and stored for up to 4 months. The Giving Garden team wishes you the best in your growing efforts! For more tips and tricks, check out our Giving Garden app available for Android and iOS.

Cooking Tips

Our friend Kristina Perrone shared with us her go-to rutabaga recipe: rutabaga kale hash. Her method is to peel and dice rutabagas and saute in preferred oil (hers is coconut). Once they are soft, chop and add kale. Saute until both are soft and then season with sea salt and pepper.

For other delicious recipes, bake up some rosemary rutabaga fries or give roasted rutabaga hummus a go. Feel free to add your own flare to these dishes and tag us on Instagram.

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Health Benefits

Rutabaga are nutritious cruciferous veggies with plenty of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and cancer-fighting properties. Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, a vital connective tissue, and is helpful in protein metabolism and neurotransmitter function. Fiber is a carbohydrate in plants that is aids in digestion, controls blood sugar, and helps lower blood cholesterol levels, and demonstrates benefit for cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and type-2 diabetes. One average-sized rutabaga will provide you with 4.5 grams of fiber, 18 percent of the daily recommended value. With 17 percent of the daily recommended value of potassium, rutabagas activate enzymes necessary for carbohydrate and protein metabolism and synthesis and may prevent against cardiovascular disease mortality and lower blood pressure. Score! In addition, rutabagas and other cruciferous veggies contain sulfur-containing substances called glucosinolates, which eliminate carcinogens before they get alter cell DNA or become cancerous.

With health benefits like these, rutabaga is surely an underrated superfood!

Learn more about plants and what to grow in your area with the Giving Garden app. Giving Garden helps you grow, share and eat food locally. Available on iOS, Android and the web.  Find your local farmers market, grow your own food and share food to strengthen your local food system. If you have extra produce, we encourage you to post it on our mobile apps and let your friends and neighbors know. Let’s combat food waste together! Have suggestions on features or need assistance, email 

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This blog post was written by Savannah Wardle, a writing and social media intern at Giving Garden and an Communications intern at The VINE. Savannah enjoys sharing her passion for holistic nutrition and sustainability. Connect with her on LinkedIn to see her current projects.

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