Turnips and rutabagas

goatster(7bGa)February 21, 2006

I am new here. I started a garden this past spring. Now I have my winter veggies that really need to be put up. I would prefer to freeze the turnips and rutabags. Can this be done without them turning out soggy? I would hate to see them all go to waste, yet they really wouldn't I can always feed them to the goats. The rabbits are getting their share also. Anyone put them in the freezer successfully?

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I would think that root crops like those could be stored without freezing. I've heard of people having luck storing root crops in containers of damp sand in a cool place. Then again, I guess it depends on how cool a place you can find for them. Some people also just leave them in the ground over the winter, which is kind of the same idea.

Sorry, I don't have experience freezing them. Maybe someone else will chime in if your heart's really set on doing that.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 2:18PM
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Do you have access to a root cellar. I keep turnips and rutabagas in the root cellar along with the potatoes, carrots, squash, etc. and they last for several months. Sometimes they get a little wrinkly, but it doesn't seem to matter.

I've never tried to freeze either of them, but I have canned rutabaga. The books say not to bother, it can get "strong", but I like it anyway.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 12:30AM
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jessay3(Ga Z 8)

Are you freezing the turnip greens with the roots? My mom used to freeze them together, since thats the way we always eat them.
I have frozen collard greens many times and have never had a problem with them turning mushy. I just wash them good and blanch them in some hot water. I keep them in the freezer for months like this.
As for the rutabagas, I have frozen these too. I have cut them into cubes and froze them uncooked. I have also cooked them and stuck those in the freezer. Both methods seem to work well. If you didnt want to freeze them, I would assume you could do it like they do it in the grocery stores. Coat them in wax. It seems they last forever like that.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 8:39AM
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I don't have a root cellar just a crawl space under the house? Can I use that? Will I need to cover them to protect them from mice/rats? I seem to recall my grandfather storing pumpkins under his crawl space. I must cook mine too long and that is why they get mushy. How long should I blanch them and how do you cool them down quickly. I do want to put the turnip roots with the greens.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 8:56AM
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goatster, it depends on the temperature of your crawl space. I have one, but it's far too warm to store vegetables there. My root cellar stays between 45 and 50 degrees, give or take a degree, which frankly is a little warmer than I like it. It's been there before I was born, though, and has always served its purpose so I guess it will be fine.

I don't think a simple cover is going to protect them from rats and mice, mice seem to be able to get into, under and over nearly everything. Controlling the rodent problem is a better answer, if you have such a problem.

I'm assuming you are freezing the vegetables if you are talking about blanching? To cool quickly after blanching just dunk them into ice water, then let drain and freeze.

Good luck, I think turnips and rutabagas, along with cabbage, are some of the most under utilized crops available to us.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 1:35PM
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When I freeze turnips I of course clean them, then put them in boiling water to blanch, just long enough for the water to return to a boil. It doesn't take them long. I usually just let them cool in a separate container on there own without ice but you could do it that way. As far as rutabegas you can do them the same way. I like the greens (tops) of the rutabegas as much as the root. I mix the greens in with the cut up roots. They taste a lot like the turnips and are really good. They freeze really well to. I don't have a root cellar or crawl space, so freezing or canning are my only options. trudyjean

    Bookmark   February 25, 2006 at 10:32PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

In the store they coat the big rutabagas with wax. Does that preserve them long term?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 5:39PM
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gipster(z5 IL)

Are turnips and rutabagas one in the same or are rutabagas in the turnip family? I'm 56 yrs old, my family has been eating mashed turnip for as long as I can remember and when I tell people about mashed turnip they say "Oh, you mean Rutabagas"? By the way, I have frozen mashed turnips/rutabagas successfully.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 11:23AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Rutabagas originated as a cross between cabbage and turnip. Rutabagas are usually larger than turnips. They are often yellow fleshed but some varieties are white. Turnips have hairy leaves while rutabaga leaves are smooth.

The clincher, to win the argument with your friends, is that turnips and rutabagas have different chromosome counts.


Here is a link that might be useful: Rutabaga

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 11:44AM
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susandonb(NC 7)

I froze my turnips a couple years ago and they were pretty good. They were a bit watery but I just steamed them rather than boil them and then drained them good. I also baked them and that seem to help dry them out a bit more.

Susan in NC

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 9:36PM
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I roasted turnips with garlic until the garlic and turnips both carmelized - it tasted great after thawing.

Also there is a wonderful soup from Belgium called waterzooi (chicken with turnips and carrots in a cream stock (we use half and half instead of cream) - we make it and freeze it in ziploc bags.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 11:50PM
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