Winter Harvest: Rutabagas and Celeriac (Celery Root)

When it comes to winter vegetables, you might think that options are limited. But the truth is, winter is an ideal time to feast on some of the season’s cream of the crop. Squash, potatoes, cabbage, apples, pears, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, garlic, celeriac,,…the list of late winter treasures is seemingly endless.

So as you’re planning your cold weather meals, don’t overlook your local winter harvest. 

Rediscovering The Rutabaga

Whether you call it a swede or a rutabaga it’s one of best winter’s food treat

Rutabagas get a bad rap. They are often mistaken for similar-looking turnips, and shoppers reach past them to grab brightly coloured squashes. But this purple-topped turnip-cabbage hybrid adds a ton of flavour to any meal.

Rutabagas, or ‘Swedish Turnips,’ are smooth, round, and boast a purple crown and a cream-coloured bottom. The flesh of the rutabaga is butter-yellow and far sweeter than their turnip doppelgangers.  They have a low water content, which makes them perfect for roasting and mashing. And they hold up beautifully in soups and stews. But, that’s not their only claim to fame; Rutabagas are a crunchy treat served raw in salads or coleslaw.

Rutabagas are bursting with Vitamin C (great for keeping the flu away). They’re rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium and are an excellent source of naturally occurring fibres. 

Celebrating Celeriac (Celery Root)

Image by Hans Braxmeier

No one ever called celeriac pretty, but what this gnarly knob lacks in physical appearance it makes up for in taste! 

Pare off the rough exterior on celeriac to find a crunchy, ivory coloured flesh that will add delicate flavour, enhancing your winter dishes all season long. 

Celeriac is a mix of celery and parsley and can be eaten raw or cooked. Choose small, firm bulbs heavy for their size and pop them into the refrigerator where they’ll stay fresh for up to 10 days. 

Celeriac takes very little effort to prepare. Simply trim off the outer layer (skin) and root, then cut into small slices or chunks to roast. Celeriac tastes great boiled (in the same pot) and mashed up with Superior, Envol, Yukon Gold, or Fabula potatoes. Cut Celeriac into cubes and toss into casseroles, stews, soups, or add to the pan of your holiday pot roast. You can also shave or grate Celeriac directly into a salad for an unexpected burst of freshness.

It can be tempting to head to the freezer section of your local grocer for veggies when the temperature begins to fall. But with a winter harvest ripe for the picking, you can still enjoy fresh farm produce all winter long.