The rutabaga, or swede, is the result of a cross between the turnip and cabbage species, and is thought to have been born sometime before 1600 in Eastern Europe, perhaps in gardens where kale and turnips were growing side by side. Like kohlrabi, it’s a swollen portion of the main stem; like the turnip, it may be white or yellow. It is sweeter and starchier than the turnip or kohlrabi, though still with only half the carbohydrate content of a potato; it’s often boiled and mashed.
From the book On Food and Cooking (2nd edition) by Harold McGee. © 2004 Harold McGee.
By permission of Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.