Rutabaga has been cultivated since ancient times. Modern scientists are not sure when and how this plant came to be cultivated. Some think that it was the result of cabbage and turnip crossing in natural conditions.
As to the area of origin, there is no consensus either. Some scientists claim that rutabaga first appeared in Russia; others insist that it comes from Europe, Scandinavia, to be more precise.
Rutabaga used to be very common and popular in Europe. It is highly unpretentious and can be grown almost in any climate, even in Scandinavia. In the beginning it used to be the food of the poor. Nevertheless, it later became popular with aristocrats and even royalty, who came to realize that it is wholesome as well as delicious.
In the XVII century England rutabaga was grown in royal vegetable gardens. Rutabaga cooked with meat is still a very popular dish in England. In Germany, too, it used to be extremely popular; Goethe used to call sweet rutabaga his favourite vegetable.
According to plant biology, rutabaga belongs to mustard family, as well as cabbage and turnip. It is a two-year gramineous plant with thick leaves and oval roots. Rutabaga pulp is normally yellow or white, with a strong odor caused by ether oils it contains.
Caloric value and healthy properties of rutabaga
Rutabaga taste, content and health benefits are similar to turnip. Its caloric value is very low- only 37 kcal per 100 grams. That said it is very rich in minerals and vitamins.
Rutabaga is very high in easily assimilated carbohydrates, dietary fibers, natural sugars and vegetable protein; it also contains starch and organic acids. Carbohydrates are represented mainly by fructose, which makes rutabaga very beneficial for people suffering from diabetes.
Vitamin content is also very rich: beta-carotene, vitamins A, E, C, H, group B, PP. Minerals: calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, iron.
Rutabaga is very high in vitamin C, higher than cabbage, beet or carrot; it stays for long time, almost throughout the winter. It is preserved even when the vegetable is boiled, which makes rutabaga irreplaceable in winter and early spring when lots of people suffer from vitamin deficiency. Rutabaga is also much higher in B6, potassium and calcium than most other root plants. It is rich in iodine, which is very important in some of Russia’s territories. Mustard oil contained in rutabaga roots kills harmful bacteria and adds savoury flavour to dishes.
Rutabaga nutrition benefits
Rutabaga is a healthy food. Rutabaga based dishes are recommended to people suffering from obesity, because they boost digestion and activate the bowels. Rutabaga is also good dietary food for people with arteriosclerotic heart disease, arterial sclerosis, and vascular sclerosis.
Rutabaga is recommended to relieve chronic constipation. It boosts vermicular movement, improves digestion and can be recommended to treat obesity. Nevertheless, it should be noted that it is contraindicated for irritated bowels syndrome, especially in its acute phase.
Rutabaga has diuretic effect, therefore it is good for people to relieve edema, high blood pressure (moderately) and atherosclerosis.
Rutabaga juice is used to cure cough, pneumonia and bronchial asthma. It is very useful to treat chronic diseases of respiratory system, such as bronchitis, bronchial pneumonia, as well as cold and virus infections.
Anti bacterial properties of rutabaga juice make it an effective remedy for skin diseases, such as abscesses and burns. Both raw and steamed rutabaga is suitable for medical purposes.
Regular intake of rutabaga helps withdraw radiation from your body. For this purpose it has to be boiled in salty water, peeled, sliced and eaten with sour cream.
To cure I and II degree burns, squeeze rutabaga juice, mix with honey 50/50 and apply to burnt places.
Rutabaga is beneficial to relieve irregularity of pulse, weak immune resistance, and even to prevent cancer. Rutabaga is sometimes referred to as anti-cancer vegetable thanks to anti-oncogenic elements it contains.
There are not many contraindications to rutabaga consumption. Still, it is not recommended to people suffering from gastritis, colitis, enteritis and some kidney diseases. Frequent consumption of rutabaga juice may cause flatulence and swelling of bowels.
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