General Discussion

Rutabagas Turnip

turnip v. rutabaga - what do you call it?


Live your best food life.

Sign up to discover your next favorite restaurant, recipe, or cookbook in the largest community of knowledgeable food enthusiasts.
Sign Up For Free
General Discussion 106

turnip v. rutabaga - what do you call it?

danieljdwyer | Nov 16, 2009 07:19 AM

I know that the word rutabaga is the correct term for what I have always called a turnip - a fairly large root vegetable with yellow flesh, a dark purple and tan exterior, which is usually sold waxed in the mid to late fall and is a traditional staple of the New England root cellar.
I know that a turnip is smaller, has white flesh, usually has a light purple and white exterior, which is harvested in the spring and summer and eaten fresh.
Now, my problem is, I have never actually heard anyone call a rutabaga a rutabaga. I've also only very rarely ever encountered actual turnips. So, I'm very curious about the regionality of these two terms. Where do people use turnip for turnips and rutabaga for rutabagas?
I'm fairly confident that, in New England, turnip nearly always means rutabaga. I have never seen either vegetable elsewhere in the US. In other English speaking countries, I've heard turnip used to mean rutabaga (Ireland) or swede used to mean rutabaga (England), but haven't seen real turnips or heard them called anything. In non-English speaking countries, I have only ever heard completely unrelated words used for these two vegetables - though in Spain, nabo is supposed to mean turnip but is actually used for rutabaga.
So, I'd like to know three things:
1. Where are you from?
2. Are turnips and rutabagas commonly eaten there?
3. What do they call these two vegetables?

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound