Kohlrabi, rutabagas, and turnips are all members of the mustard family. Another name for kohlrabi is cabbage turnip. The flavor of its bulb-like stem is similar to a turnip. The rutabaga is a root much like the turnip but is yellow in color and a bit sweeter. Turnips are commonly white and are easily identified by their long thin taproot. While the leaves of these vegetables are safe to eat, turnip greens are the most frequently consumed. These vegetables are available in Ohio from mid-July through September.
For information on varieties in Ohio, contact your county educator in agriculture and natural resources at Ohio State University Extension, or a master gardener volunteer.
- Kohlrabi - Look for small bulbs with fresh tops and thin rinds. Large bulbs tend to be tough and woody. Avoid bulbs with blemishes and cracks.
- Rutabagas - Choose young and tender roots. Select roots that are heavy for their size. Avoid roots that have blemishes and cracks.
- Turnips - Choose young, small bulbs as they are the most tender. Overgrown bulbs may be sharp in flavor and tough and woody in texture. Avoid roots that have blemishes and cracks.
Due to many variables such as moisture content, size, and variety, it is difficult to give specific recommendations. The recommendations below are approximations.
Amount for 4 servings:
- Turnips - 2 pounds (about 6 medium-sized vegetables)
- Rutabagas - 1 large or 2 medium-sized vegetables
- Kohlrabi - 4 to 6 medium-sized vegetables
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2½ cups of a variety of vegetables each day as part of a healthy diet. Kohlrabi, rutabagas, and turnips support better nutrition with a range of benefits:
- Kohlrabi is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants.
- One cup provides almost a full day’s worth of vitamin C.
- It also provides fiber and is a good source of vitamin B6.
- One cup of raw kohlrabi has 36 calories.
- Rutabagas are a good source of potassium.
- A one cup serving has about 52 calories.
- Turnips are a good source of potassium.
- Turnip greens are an excellent source of vitamin A.
- One cup serving (raw) has 36 calories.
- Remove greens, leaving a ½-inch stem. You can also remove the taproot up to the edible portion.
- Store kohlrabi, rutabagas, and turnips in a vegetable crisper where it is cool and moist. These vegetables will last several weeks or months when stored in a ventilated plastic bag.
- Wash thoroughly in cold water just before using to remove dirt. Do not use soap, dish detergent, or bleach because these liquids absorb into the vegetables. Scrub well with a brush if you want to eat the peel, which contains fiber and is nutrient-rich.
- When washing large amounts of vegetables, lift from the water to prevent redepositing of dirt and residues.
- Turnips - If necessary, cut off tops. Scrub well, peel if desired. Leave whole or cut into cubes.
- Rutabagas - Peel thinly. Cut into cubes or slices.
- Kohlrabi - Trim off root ends and vine-like stems. Peel and cube or cut into ¼-inch slices.
- These root vegetables can be eaten raw or boiled, fried, frozen, roasted, steamed, stewed, or topped with a sauce.
- Use herbs to enhance their flavor, such as basil, rosemary, savory, and thyme.
Roasted Root Vegetables
Yield: 4 servings
A variety of root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, and turnips make this colorful dish festive and nutritious.
- 4 medium root vegetables (choose a variety from potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, etc.)
- 2 carrots
- 1 medium onion
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Cut vegetables into large chunks.
- Place in a medium bowl and pour oil over top. Add seasonings or Parmesan and mix well.
- Spread vegetables in an even layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 1 hour or until tender. Check a few vegetables to see if they are tender.
For information on preserving these vegetables, go to ohioline.osu.edu or contact your local Ohio State University Extension office for the following fact sheets:
FoodData Central. n.d. U.S. Department of Agriculture (website), accessed July 1, 2021. fdc.nal.usda.gov
National Center for Home Food Preservation. n.d. University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences (website). Accessed July 2, 2021. nchfp.uga.edu
U.S. Department of Agriculture. n.d. “My Plate, U.S. Department of Agriculture.” Recipes. Accessed June 28, 2021. myplate.gov/myplate-kitchen/recipes
Revised 2021: Kate Shumaker, Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension
Original reviewer: Lydia Medeiros, PhD, RD, Specialist, Ohio State University Extension
Original author: Barbara A. Brahm, Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension