Rutabaga

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The rutabaga, swede (from Swedish turnip), or yellow turnip (Brassica napobrassica, or Brassica napus var. napobrassica, or Brassica napus subsp. rapifera) is a root vegetable that originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip (See Triangle of U). The roots are prepared for food in a variety of ways, and its leaves can also be eaten as a leaf vegetable.

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Etymology

"Rutabaga" is the common American and Canadian term for the plant. It comes from the Swedish word Rotabagga, meaning simply "root bag". "Swede" is the preferred term used in much of England, Wales, Australia and New Zealand. In the U.S., the plant is also known as "Swedish turnip" or "yellow turnip", while in Ireland, it is referred to as "turnip". The name turnip is also used in parts of Northern and Midland England, Cornwall and Atlantic Canada. In Scots, it is either "tumshie" or "neep",[1] and Brassica rapa var. rapa, termed a "turnip" in southern English usage, instead is called a "white turnip" as in Ireland. Scots will refer to both types by the generic term "neep" (from Old English næp, Latin napus).[1][2] Some will also refer to both types as just "turnip" (the word is also derived from næp).[2] In North-East England, turnips and swedes are colloquially called "snaggers" (archaic). They should not be confused with the large beet known as a mangelwurzel. Its common name in Sweden is kålrot (literally "cabbage root"), similarly in Denmark it is known as kålroe, while in Norway it has usurped the name of kålrabi in addition to being known as kålrot.

History

The first known printed reference to the rutabaga comes from the Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin in 1620, where he notes that it was growing wild in Sweden. It is often considered to have originated from Scandinavia or Russia.[3] It is said to have been widely introduced to England around the end of the 18th century, but it was recorded as being present in the royal gardens in England as early as 1669 and was described in France in 1700. It was asserted by Sir John Sinclair in his Husbandry of Scotland to have been introduced to Scotland around 1781-1782. An article on the topic in The Gardeners' Chronicle suggests that the rutabaga was then introduced more widely to England in 1790. Introduction to North America came in the early 19th century with reports of planted rutabaga crops in Illinois as early as 1817.[4]

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