If you are confused about the difference between turnips and rutabagas, you’re not alone.
Rutabagas are known around here as turnips or winter turnips. They are biggish, bulbous and purple-topped with yellowy flesh, and they keep well through the winter.
Turnips (or summer turnips) have a flatter shape, and are light in color with white flesh. These mature earlier in the growing season and aren’t kept as a storage vegetable.
When I say turnip, I mean what you might call rutabaga. Or swede. Or neep.
It’s big and yellow and you may have hated it when you were a kid. (But you wouldn’t have if your mom mixed them in with the mashed potatoes the way my mom did.)
There’s lots to love about this vegetable.
It’s a good source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium.
It grows well in cooler climates like mine, and keeps all winter long – so it’s affordable while the rising prices of imported produce are making the news.
But what do you do with winter turnips / rutabagas / swedes when you are not mashing them with potatoes?
How about turning them into these Turnip Oven Fries?
They are slightly sweet, slightly peppery and just different enough that your kids will notice and maybe ask what’s up as they eat them all off their plates and look for more.
Smaller turnips can be cut into wedges, while the larger ones will do better cut into 1/2-inch / 1.25 cm thick fries.
To prepare, peel the tough outer layer off your vegetables, and cut them into pieces. Place them in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain and toss with some oil and seasonings.
Bake the turnip fries in a preheated oven until well-browned and then serve with ketchup or whatever suits you. (Leave your baking pan in the oven as it heats up, then spread the oiled fries on the hot sheet. This will keep them from sticking and will help them get a good glow on both sides.)
- 2 medium winter turnips
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring the water to a boil while you prepare the turnips.
- Cut the stem and root ends off of the turnips.
- Peel the tough outer peel and discard.
- Cut each turnip into ½-inch / 1.25 cm slices.
- Cut each slice into ½-inch / 1.25 cm fries.
- Place turnip fries into boiling water and let boil for 3 minutes.
- While turnips are boiling, preheat oven to 400 degrees F / 204 degrees C. Leave a baking sheet in the oven as it preheats.
- Drain the turnip fries and return to saucepan. Toss with the oil, salt and pepper.
- Remove heated tray from the oven and spread turnips over tray.
- Bake the fries for 15 minutes, then flip them to brown on the other side for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve hot.