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A member of the cabbage family, rutabaga is often one of the last vegetables to be harvested in the fall. In fact, the longer it's left in the soil, the sweeter it gets. Preparing one for cooking, however, can be challenging. Buy smaller rutabagas, work on a solid surface, and be sure your knife is properly sharpened before you begin.

Method One

Place the rutabaga on a firm surface and slice a thin section off both the top and bottom to create a flat base to rest it on while peeling and slicing. Using a very sharp knife or vegetable peeler, remove small sections of the peel at a time. If the rutabaga is very large, you may have to remove the skin in layers. Continue peeling as far down as you can safely go, then flip the rutabaga over to finish the other end.

Method Two

You can also cut the rutabaga in half length-wise, resting one flat end on your work surface and cutting down from top to bottom. Then lie each half cut-side down and slice it crosswise into inch-thick pieces. Peel each slice with a smaller sharp knife or vegetable peeler, placing the blade under the skin at one end and drawing the knife toward you. Finish by cutting the peeled slices into 1-inch cubes.

Rutabaga Facts

Rutabagas are generally purple and brownish-yellow and have a mild sweet flesh. They range in size from baseball-sized to almost soccer-ball sized, with the smaller ones being sweeter and more firm. Commercial growers dip rutabagas in wax to enhance moisture retention and extend their shelf lives. Home- or farm-grown rutabagas without a wax coating are a little easier to peel.

About the Author

Rachel Lovejoy

Rachel Lovejoy has been writing professionally since 1990 and currently writes a weekly column entitled "From the Urban Wilderness" for the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, Maine, as well as short novellas for Amazon Kindle. Lovejoy graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.