Rutabaga (aka “Swede”) is very similar to turnip, being just a few genes away. It is round, with an orangish flesh inside. In North American stores, it often has PLU code 4747, meaning apparently just “generic variety” of rutabaga. It is usually sold coated in food-grade wax to extend its shelf life.
Rutabaga can be pressure canned using the same canning directions as per turnip — with the same proviso, that it may become dark and very strong tasting to some people’s tastes. Note that this also depends on the cultivar of rutabaga.
Jar size choices: Either half-litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart)
Processing method: Pressure canning only
Headspace: 3 cm (1 inch)
Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet.)
Processing time: Half-litres (pints) 30 minutes; litres (quarts) 35 minutes.
- Wash rutabaga, then peel.
- Cut into cubes or chunks 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches).
- Blanch the cubes in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Pack into jars leaving 3 cm (1 inch) headspace.
- Top up with fresh boiling water leaving 3 cm (1 inch) headspace.
- Season jar with a teaspoon or half-teaspoon of salt if desired.
- Put lids on, put in pressure canner.
- Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet.)
- Processing time: half-litre (1 US pint) jars for 30 minutes. OR 1 litre (1 US quart) jars for 35 minutes.
How to pressure can.
When pressure canning, you must adjust the pressure for your altitude.
More information about Salt-Free Canning in general.
Instead of the salt, you can use a non-bitter, non-clouding salt sub. We have found Herbamare Sodium-Free performs well in that regard.
Parsnips, Rutabagas, or Turnips. In: Ball Blue Book. Muncie, Indiana: Healthmark LLC / Jarden Home Brands. Edition 37. 2014. Page 114.
Turnip. In: Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Bernardin Ltd. 2013. Page 104.
Root Vegetables. In: Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Robert Rose Inc. 2015. Page 393.
Turnips (Root) / Rutabaga. In: Andress, Elizabeth L. and Judy A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Bulletin 989. Sixth Edition. 2014. Page 96.
Ball says to blanch for 3 minutes; So Easy to Preserve says to blanch for 5 minutes.
Serving size: 100 g (1 cup, cubes)
Per 100 g (1 cup): 36 calories
Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 0 points regardless of quantity.
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com
* PointsPlus™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.
Why is there a question mark hanging over canning rutabaga
Bernardin says, “Rutabagas can be canned…. but usually discolour and tend to develop a strong flavour.”  Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Bernardin Ltd. 2013. Page 104.
Ball repeats the same advice: “Rutabaga usually discolors when canned and may develop a strong flavor.”  Ball Blue Book. Muncie, Indiana: Healthmark LLC / Jarden Home Brands. Edition 37. 2014. Page 114.
The Ball / Bernardin Complete Book says, “We don’t recommend canning rutabagas as they usually discolor and develop a strong flavor in the process.”  Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Robert Rose Inc. 2015. Page 393.
So Easy to Preserve (2014, page 96) says, “Rutabagas may be canned by these directions [Ed: for turnip], but usually discolor and develop strong flavor when canned.”
It should be noted though that directions for canning rutabaga are maintained none-the-less, because it appears that a significant number of people either don’t mind or actively like the taste of home-canned rutabaga. The taste of home-canned rutabaga is certainly can be very nice as part of a squash mash.
Note as well that there may be different cultivars grown in different regions, which react different to canning.
Pickling recipes for rutabaga
Rutabaga can be water-bathed canned (or steam-canned) if it is part of a pickled, high-acid food product.
There is, however, only one such recipe that we know that is a tested recipe from a reputable source.
The recipe is Ploughman’s Pickle developed by Canadian Living.
There are many recipes out there from unofficial sources for pickled rutabaga strips, pickled diced rutabaga, pickled smoked rutabaga, etc.
But none of the recipes are lab-tested for safety, that we know of.
See also: Turnip
|↑1||Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Bernardin Ltd. 2013. Page 104.|
|↑2||Ball Blue Book. Muncie, Indiana: Healthmark LLC / Jarden Home Brands. Edition 37. 2014. Page 114.|
|↑3||Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Robert Rose Inc. 2015. Page 393.|
Thanks for all this info, I love your website. Can I use chicken stock instead of water to can swede/rutabaga? I reckon the flavour would be better… but don’t want to kill anyone!!
Sorry, we don’t have an answer to that. Try asking one of these Master Food Preserver groups.
Can you mash rutabagas before canning, and how long to can them and under what pressure?
No, do not mash before canning. Proper sterilization depends on heat being able to circulate between the pieces. Follow the directions above precisely. Mash upon opening and draining (you can freeze the canning water for use in soup, etc.)