1 February 2019

What are swedes, are they turnips? This is often a source of confusion, especially in Scotland where we do tend to refer to swedes as turnips or neeps. You see a turnip is something different, a swede is in fact a cross between a turnip and a cabbage!

The official name for the swede is a Rutabaga which comes from the Swedish Rotabagge.

The history bit

It all started with a Swiss botanist called Casper Bauhin who crossed a turnip with a cabbage and the swede as we know it was born. Also known as the Swedish turnip, the Russian turnip and of course Neeps here in Scotland.

Swedes became popular in Scotland before England. They are used mainly as animal fodder south of the border but have always been a popular food for humans in northern Europe and Russia.

The British used turnips in 1800 as cheap cannon balls!

There are International Rutabaga Curling Championships held every year. This was started in 1997 at the farmers market in Ithaca.

Swede is good for you 

Swede have lots of health benefits for us; they help to improve our digestion as they contain a lot of fiber, they boost our immune system and help to lower blood pressure, their anti-oxident qualities help to fight against cancers and they help to stimulate cell renewal to keep our bodies younger for longer. They also help with weight loss as the protein boosts our metabolism.


Swedes contain calcium, sodium, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, B6, K and E, zinc, phosphotus, potasium and magnesium.

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Check out our Pinterest Board for lots of great swede recipes.