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Mashed Rutabagas

Follow our easy step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe for making Mashed Rutabagas. This root vegetable has been dated back to the early 1600’s, and is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. Often overlooked by many folks, Rutabagas can be prepared many different ways and will delight your family with a brand new taste treat. Printable recipe included.

Mashed Rutabagas Recipe:

Just before I turned six years of age, my family moved from the countryside to the “big” city. They were following my older brother and sister, who had now graduated from high school and moved away from farm life, to take jobs in the grocery business in town.

Mama took her first and only public job she ever held, at a business about a block from where we now lived. Daddy cleared out several lots behind our house and returned to raising vegetables and a few hogs. By fall, Daddy setup a produce stand beside the road in front of our house and started selling the vegetables he grew, and some that he would purchase.

It seems we always sold Tomatoes at 3lbs. for a $1.00. Daddy bought bananas by the stalk and would hang them from the ceiling inside the fruit stand. That was always an attraction. Eventually, the local bread route salesman started leaving us fresh loaves of bread to sell. Seems the whole family was involved in the grocery business in one way or another.

Thankfully, Daddy allowed me to stay at home throughout the summer days and watch the fruit stand. I could sit and watch cartoons while keeping an eye out through the screen door for any car that pulled up. He’d go out early in the mornings and come home with a sweat covered shirt from working all the gardens. He’d have lunch, rest awhile, then when the day began to cool, he’d head back out to do more.

I totally hated garden work. Nothing ruined a good afternoon of play more than hearing that I had to go help pull weeds or chop rows in the gardens. Walking bare foot through fresh plowed dirt behind the tractor could be fun sometimes, but please don’t ask me to chop anything. I was more suited to the “selling” part, and I think I did pretty good. I learned to count change back, and how to treat customers fair and square at a very early age.

Selling produce, from that stand in front of our house, has given me a great admiration for the farmers, produce stands, and Farmers Markets all around our area. I visit our local North Carolina State Farmers Market often, if only to walk through and look at all that’s offered. I find myself stopping at about just everyone I see when travelling, and I enjoy every minute of browsing. It brings back good memories.

We’re blessed to have many such places within North Carolina. If you’ve never visited our major markets, I do hope you’ll put it on your list. There are many other great markets, like Western Wake, Carrboro, and others that operate on Saturday mornings throughout the growing season. It’s awesome to see the new interest these places are bringing. And, all the folks are always eager to talk about their products and how it’s raised.

Many of our recipes come from items purchased at the North Carolina State Farmers Market. The Winter months don’t offer as much variety as the Summer months, but there’s always something good to be found, even Rutabagas.

I hope you’ll like our recipe and that you’ll give it a try. I’ll look forward to hearing your Farmer’s Market stories in the Comment section below. And, if you try the recipe, be sure to come back and let me know how you like it. Ready for some fresh Rutabagas? Alright then, grab a sharp knife and… Let’s Get Cooking.

mashed-rutabagas, nc state farmers market

You’ll find a lot of friendly farmers at our local NC State Farmers Market in Raleigh. This is just one corner booth in the 30,000 square feet Farmers Building portion. The part I really like about shopping here is that everything sold in the Farmers Building must be grown in our state. You know you’re getting the best local produce possible throughout the year.

Mashed Rutabagas, Linda Johnson Family Produce booth.

The Linda Johnson Family Produce booth has been in their corner location for many years. They’re there throughout the year, on the hottest of days and the coldest of days, happy and willing to help their customers. My friend Barbara (left) and one of her helpers (center) helped my brother (right) and me pick out fresh vegetables on our visit during one of the last days of Winter. It was pretty cold, but we enjoyed lots of great stories about the market from Barbara and talking with her about farming in general.

Mashed Rutabagas, fresh produce.

The winter months at the market find all kinds of “greens” available. These Rutabagas Barbara had for sale, just kind of caught my attention as being something “different.” As I mentioned, they are a cross between turnips and cabbage, and certainly look a lot like turnips. The variety of items available at market changes from season to season of course. Summer will find the Farmer’s Building filled with local farmers selling all types of fresh and local produce, and bustling with shoppers. Well worth a visit any time of the year though.

Mashed Rutabagas, you'll need these ingredients.

Mashed Rutabagas: You’ll need these ingredients.

Mashed Rutabagas, scrub under cold running water.

Even if I’m going to peel them, I like to wash all my vegetables prior to using them. For the Rutabagas, scrub them under some cold running water to remove any dirt that might still be hanging on to them. They are a root vegetable and are generally pretty clean when purchased, but I still like to give them a good cleaning.

Mashed Rutabagas, cut off the ends.

You’ll need a good sharp knife when working with Rutabagas. One of the reasons folks don’t cook them often is because they’re a bit hard to peel. More kitchen accidents are caused by dull knives than sharp ones. Take your best sharp knife and carefully cut off the top and bottom ends.

Mashed Rutabagas, peel carefully.

You could use a sharp paring knife to peel away the skin, or a good vegetable peeler works really well. Just use caution, take your time, and you’ll be ready to get cooking in no time.

Mashed Rutabagas, slice and cube.

By cutting the ends off, you have a flat smooth surface to help stabilize the vegetable while you slice it. I stand mine up on end, slice it in sections, then cut those sections into cubes.

Mashed Rutabagas, all cubed up and ready for cooking.

Just work carefully and you’ll have them all cubed up and ready in no time.

Mashed Rutabagas, add some water and a little bacon grease to a medium sauce pot.

Add some cold water to a medium size sauce pot. Then, add the Bacon grease.

Mashed Rutabagas, add the salt.

Add the Salt.

Mashed Rutabagas, add a little black pepper.

Add the Black Pepper.

Mashed Rutabagas, add the sugar.

Add the Sugar. Mama always added a little sugar to about all of her vegetable dishes. I come by it naturally.

Mashed Rutabagas, add the diced rutabagas.

Add the diced Rutabagas. You need just enough water to slightly cover them.

Place the pot over Medium-High heat and bring to a slight boil. Cover the pot, then reduce the heat to just a notch or two below Medium heat.

Mashed Rutabagas, cook until fork tender.

They will need to simmer about 30-45 minutes, or until fork tender.  Drain off the liquid when they’re done.

Mashed Rutabagas, could be served as is.

You could easily serve them diced with a little butter on top.

Mashed Rutabagas, chop them up.

For Mashed Rutabagas, place them in a larger bowl and chop them up a bit.

Mashed Rutabagas, mash well.

Use a potato masher and mash them up real good, just like mashed potatoes. Give them a taste test to see if they need anything else. A little Butter stirred in will give them added flavor.

As I finish this, I can’t help but wonder what Mama and Daddy would think, if they knew, that just last night I attended a class at our local Cooperative Extension Service on “Starting a Vegetable Garden.” It’s not really likely that I’ll be able to have one, I just thought I might be able to learn even more about my latest interests. They’re also offering some Demonstration Classes coming up this Summer. I’m thinking about it.

Mashed Rutabagas, serve warm and enjoy.

Serve warm and Enjoy!

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