How Swedes Eat Swede

We hope that last week’s colourful vegetables added a splash of colour to brighten the lingering grey winter days. This week’s box contents is subject to availability due to the weather.

We haven’t written much about the humble swede, so here’s a fun fact about this root: did you know that swede originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip? It’s often used a flavour enhancer so not surprisingly it is a component in the making of Branston pickle!

It’s also known as yellow turnip, Swedish turnip and Russian turnip and, in America, rutabaga. In Scotland, where it is known as neeps, swede is the traditional accompaniment to haggis on Burns night (only two weeks late, dear acquaintance).

If you are really lazy to peel them (and it is not always easy) then just wrap them in foil and steam-roast until cooked, then peel under running water. Or roast (peeled) in olive oil, salt and lemon then finish off with grated parmesan.

Do have a read of Nigel Slater’s eulogy to the swede and cooking ideas (such as quote: “Mashed swede is only worth eating when half a packet of butter is suspended in it.”) – it is well worth it.

Warm up with a spiced swede soup wonderfully flavoured with cardamon and nutmeg, or add to any stew or casserole. Or take it from the Swedes and eat your swede as part of a root mash “rotmos”, which pairs well with ham and mustard, or fried salty pork and sausage.

If you’re missing Christmas then try a traditional Finnish Christmas swede casserole “lanttulaatikko” (our feature photo for the week). You may want to top the casserole with breadcrumbs and dotted butter instead of mixing these in. You could skip the sugar as swede on its own is quite sweet, but some recipes call for Finnish syrup, which has a molasses taste, much like brown sugar. Finns even use rutabaga in most dishes that call for any root vegetable!

Try a swede chutney along with an apple from the box. Or try it pickled – toss julienned swede in a tablespoon or two of salt, leave for 20 minutes. Drain off water, and rinse thoroughly.  Taste a piece, and if still too salty, leave to soak in cold water for 10 mins.  When happy that the swede is not too salty, drain, and pour over some clear vinegar and caster sugar, and toss.

Or go sweet with a swede nutmeg cake with brown butter frosting and salted hazelnut (substitute with cinnamon if you don’t like nutmeg, or go half-half).

For the rest of the vegetables in this week’s box, try searching on our webpage for past blogs!

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Arran Potatoes, Lancs
* Carrots, Lincs
* Onions, Norfolk
* Beetroot, Lincs
* Jan King Cabbage, Kent
White Mushrooms, Suffolk
Sprouts, Lincs
Swede, Lincs
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Jerusalem Artichokes, Lincs

Fruit Supplement
Braeburn Apples, Kent (standard only)
Mandarins, Spain


2 thoughts on “How Swedes Eat Swede

  1. Thanks for the swede themed ideas. It seems to be the one vegetable I can’t get my tastebuds excited about, but that doesn’t stop it turning up in my veg box every now and then! I might have to try that spiced soup…


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