Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Of Turnips and Rutabagas...

This is our first gardening year on our new property.  We moved in last mid-June and decided just to watch and listen to the property before embarking on any gardening ventures. But while we waited, we planned and for Christmas I gifted my husband with a seed collection from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
The collection I bought him was the Large Northern Package (They also have southern packages.) and it contained over 25 types of vegetables/60 varieties.  In other words we got 60 packages of seeds.  Included were some veges that we probably wouldn't have picked on our own like turnips and rutabagas.  But since we know we need to expand our vegetable horizons we planted everything with a vow to try it and use it/preserve it.
Now it is into summer and the turnips are ready for harvesting and the rutabagas are growing nicely.  But what to do with them?  Of course I've seen them at the grocery store and occasionally at the farm market but I've always skipped over them.  So I consulted my cookbooks and came up with a recipe for butter roasted turnips.  Surprise of surprise they weren't bad.  Now, they will never be a common sight on my dinner table but seasonally they will make a nice change.  Next time I'm going to try roasting them with butter and brown sugar so they carmelize a bit. I also might mash them. 
What I'm really excited to do is use the turnips and rutabagas in soups!  Not in the summer, though.  I try to stay away from hot soups during the summer. They are, however, a staple on our table the other three seasons. 
There are three ways to preserve the veges.  I can can them but I would need a pressure canner and I do not as of yet have one.  I could blanch and freeze them or I can blanch and dehydrate them.  I'm going for dehydrating.  After prepping the veges (wash, remove tops, peel) I will cut them up into slices, steam blanch for 5 minutes and then dry them in our dehydrator.
As you can see our dehydrator is a dinosaur but it still works just fine and soon I will have preserved turnips and rutabagas to throw into soups when ever I want.  I think they will be a perfect addition to my hearty homemade soups!
How do you use your turnips and other root veges?  Anyone willing to share recipes?



Kymbirle said...

I think that was our dehydrator. I am So glad that you still use it.

Cynthia (C.L) Lewis said...

Yes, Kym! I was thinking about that this morning. Miss you all!