Assortment raw organic of purple vegetables mini eggplants, spring onion, beetroot, radicchio salad, plums, kohlrabi, flower salt over dark metal background. Top view with space. (Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
Rutabagas Are A Hybrid Of These 2 Vegetables
Rutabagas have been around since at least the 1600s, a root vegetable whose long shelf life made it an important resource during food shortages. Despite its past status as a last resort food, the rutabaga is a member of an interesting vegetable family, and it's a far more valuable crop than we might realize.
Rutabagas are a hybrid of two familiar vegetables — turnips and cabbage — all of which are part of the brassica family of plants. Though the roots of the rutabaga’s origins are a little complicated, research by the University of Michigan found that, most likely, rutabagas are the descendent of "either an early form or an extinct ancestor" of turnips and cabbage.
Scientifically, rutabagas are known as the Brassica napus species, a species that contains three different morphotypes; the other two forms are known as Siberian kale and canola. Whether you’re cooking rutabaga greens or pan-frying in canola oil, you’re actually using a plant that’s more valuable than most of us ever imagined.