Swede and Rutabaga

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

swede and rutabaga two names for a root vegetable, Brassica napus ssp rapifera, which is closely related to but botanically and commercially distinguished from the turnip. Swedes differ from turnips in having ridged scars forming concentric rings around their tops. The ‘root’ is not a true root but the swollen base of the stem, and these marks are leaf scars.

The swede probably originated in C. Europe and reached France and then England in the 17th century. By the late 18th century it had become an important European vegetable crop; and by the beginning of the 19th century it had reached the USA.