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Rutabaga Vs. Turnip

With their large bulbous shape and reddish purple crown, the rutabaga and turnip look pretty similar, but not many people are aware of the differences between them. Some even consider them to be the same. This article from Tastessence will provide you with the differences and similarities between these root vegetables, and the various ways they are incorporated in the diet, all over the world.
Tastessence Staff
Did You Know?
Traditionally, turnips are carved out and used as candle lanterns for Halloween, in Ireland and Scotland.
The origin of the rutabaga can be traced back to Russia. It is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. They are grown in regions that have cooler temperatures. Counting from the day of its plantation, a rutabaga requires about 80 to 100 days to harvest. The ideal pH of the soil to cultivate this vegetable should be approximately 5.5 to 7.0.

The cultivation of turnip is said to have been carried out before the 15th century BCE. This crop was well-known and popularly found in Roman and Hellenistic times. They are distinguished by their bulbous white taproot. The turnips which are small and tender are cultivated for human consumption. Whereas, the larger variety is known to be consumed as feed, by the livestock. For cultivating turnips the pH of the soil should be between 5.5 to 6.8. Once planted, they take 30 to 60 days to harvest.
Rutabaga Vs. Turnip
Rutabaga Root
Whole Purple Headed Turnip
  • There are different types of rutabagas which vary in color―white, purple, yellow, and tan. But the inner flesh is either yellow or white. When cooked, the flesh turns yellow-orange. It has waxy leaves, which are divided into lobes. Rutabaga has numerous side shoots and is characterized by a distinct crown. They are larger than turnips, and also have a rougher and tougher skin.
  • Unlike rutabaga, turnips do not have side roots and have a soft outer skin. They are harvested when small. The smaller varieties of turnips are well-known and peculiar. They too are available in varied colors―orange, red, and yellow. The similarity between a turnip and a rutabaga, is their purple crown. The white flesh turns translucent when cooked.
  • Rutabaga is sweeter than a turnip, and also contains more starch than the latter.
  • A turnip tastes slightly more bitter than rutabaga. Raw turnips are more widely used in salads than raw rutabagas.
Preparations Around the World
  • Stews and soups are made with rutabagas in Australia.
  • In Canada, they are used as fillers in cakes and meat dishes.
  • They are mashed along with potatoes and butter in Scotland, Norway, and Canada.
  • Stews are made out of turnips in United States. They are cooked with fat pork meat and vinegar.
  • They are pickled in Middle Eastern countries.
  • They are used to flavor şalgam (a juice made from purple carrots) in Turkey.
  • In Japan, turnips are stir fried with soy sauce or salt.
  • In Austria, raw shredded turnips are widely included in all green salads.
  • Whereas, in Iran, turnips are boiled in salt water, and used as a remedy for cough and cold.
Nutritional Facts Per 100 Grams
Rutabaga Turnip
84 kJ 157 kJ
4.4 g 8.62 g
Dietary Fiber
3.5 g 2.3 g
1.1 g 1.08 g
137 mg 43 mg
0.8 mg 0.44 mg
22 mg 20 mg
203 gm 305 gm
Now that you know the difference between a rutabaga and a turnip, how about including these delicious root vegetables in your salads and soups? These vegetables can be used interchangeably and are known to be the perfect fillers in various meat dishes.