Do you love vegetables? Most kids like potatoes. Corn is another popular favorite. But what about broccoli, squash and cucumbers? There is an incredible variety of vegetables out there just waiting to become your lunch or dinner!

For example, have you ever eaten a turnip? What about wild cabbage? Would you believe there’s a vegetable that scientists believe developed from a combination of the turnip and wild cabbage? It’s true! It’s called the rutabaga.

Go ahead and say it a couple of times. We know you want to. Rutabaga! Rutabaga! Rutabaga! Wasn’t that fun?

Historians believe rutabagas developed in Bohemia in the 17th century. In addition to being a food for humans, rutabagas were also a popular crop grown to feed livestock. Today, rutabagas grow best in cooler weather, such as the northern parts of the United States, Canada and Europe.

In fact, rutabagas became particularly popular in the northern Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden. Throughout Europe, rutabagas are often called “swedes” even today.

Rutabagas are root vegetables that can be purple, white or yellow with yellow-orange flesh. Many people think they are yellow turnips! Their leaves are thick and blue, like cabbage. The flowers of the rutabaga plant are small and light-yellow in color.

Rutabagas have a light flavor that reminds many people of fresh cabbage and turnips. They’re also a good source of healthy beta carotene. Despite these benefits, rutabagas are still fairly uncommon in American kitchens.

Rutabagas are easy to fix and can be used in many delicious recipes. They’re usually planted in May or June and harvested in late summer or early fall. To get the tastiest rutabagas, look for them at a local farmer’s market in early autumn.

If you’re WONDERing how rutabagas are usually eaten, there are actually many great uses for the humble rutabaga. They can be eaten raw as a snack or chopped up and put into salads. They can also be cooked in a wide variety of ways, including roasting, boiling, steaming, stir frying, mashing and stewing!

40 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (9 votes, avg. 3.56 out of 5)
    • Welcome back, Victoria P.! We’re so glad to hear this Wonder made you smile! Thanks for sharing your comment– happy Wonder Wednesday! :-)

  1. We enjoyed saying rutabaga, rutabaga, rutabaga, rutabaga, rutabaga! However, to be honest, the random wonder on the side bar tempted our taste buds a little bit more and we jumped over to Wonder #33 about the inventor of chocolate chip cookies! Yum Yum!

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about moving, vacation spots, visiting and exploring foreign countries, going to Florida, Myrtle Beach, the first airplane, or migrating Siberians from the last Ice Age 15,000 years ago who crossed the land bridge from Asia to North America following big game. :D

    • YAY, our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Ski’s AM Class are enjoying our rutabaga (rutabaga, rutabaga, RUTABAGA!) Wonder! We’re glad you learned about crunchy vegetables AND then moved on to those sweet, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chips! Boy are we getting hungry! :)

      We can’t wait to pack our bags to Wonder with you– thanks for sharing all your AWESOME guesses! Have a WONDERful Wednesday! :)

  2. Even though it is only 9:14 A.M. this wonder made us HUNGRY! Most of our class chooses vegetables in the lunch line because they are healthy and delicious. Five students in the class think they would enjoy eating rutabagas.

    Thank you for the healthy wonder!

    • YUM! We’re glad our Wonder Friends, Third Grade Brave, are choosing vegetables in the lunch line! Hooray! We’re hungry too, perhaps we’ll check out some rutabaga recipes and get cookin’! :) Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

  3. Hey I love today’s wonder and now I know what a rutabaga is!!! I really like wonderopolis and do you have a wonder about PEARL HARBOR if so that would be awesome! Thanks and have a WONDERFUL Wonder Day!!!!!

    • HOORAY, we’re so happy to hear that you learned about a rutabaga, Hunter! Thanks for being a great Wonder Friend, too! We love it when you visit! :)

    • Thanks for suggesting a Wonder, Jusin! We hope you’ll put your worries away and trade them in for WONDERing with us instead! :)

    • We’re so glad to hear that you’ve tried a rutabaga, Wonder Friend G! We are looking forward to making a recipe with a rutabaga, too! :)

    • You’re right, Supermonkey! They do look like potatoes! We hope you’ll give rutabagas a try! Let us know how it goes! :)

  4. Hello, thank you for doing a wonderopoplis on one of my favorite all time fruit: rutabaga.

    I come from russia where old ruti is sparse but we do what we have. I love rutabagas and am always on the search for it. I love fruits and I love you, wonderopoplis for your wonderful contribution to the ever growing rutabaga community. Thank you.

    • R8ndall, we’re thrilled to hear that rutabagas make you smile! Thanks for sharing your comment and expressing how much you love rutabagas! We’re happy to Wonder about it with you today! :)

    • Thanks so very much, Zavia, we LOVE talking to you, too! We hope you’ll give rutabaga a try next time you’re in the grocery store! Yum! :)

    • You can find a rutabaga at a farmers market, or even your local grocery store, Brooklynnecottier! They are usually available in the fall, but you might be able to find one with some help from your local grocer! :)

  5. Today’s wonder was really cool! I have not tasted rutabaga or parsnips before, but my momma does make roasted vegetables all the time with sweet potatoes and onions and carrots, and she cooks it with rosemary sometimes. Thank you for today’s wonder. It was cool! (and yummy!) ;) :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is a rutabaga?
  • What two vegetables did the rutabaga develop from?
  • What recipes can you make with rutabagas?

Wonder Gallery

RutabagaVimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to try a rutabaga? First, you’ll need to grab a friend or family member and head to the nearest store or farmer’s market to buy some rutabagas.

Check out the recipes below and choose one or two to try. Make sure you check out the list of ingredients, as there may be a few other items you need to get at the store.

When you’re finished, let us know whether you like rutabagas. Post a comment below or upload a picture of your rutabaga dish to Facebook. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Still Wondering

In Illuminations’ Can You Picture It? lesson, children collect data about favorite vegetables and record the data in a pictograph and interpret this representation.

Wonder What’s Next?

Better pack your suitcase for tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.