I have lived in Scotland for nearly forty years but am still confused about neeps, swedes and turnips. I’m Irish and the orangey coloured ones are turnips. I mash these with carrot and a bit of butter, salt and pepper and find them delicious. Maybe a Scottish Gran could put me out of my misery once and for all?
The orange ones are swedes.
Fascinating Facts And Figures About Swede And Turnips
Swede - Facts and FiguresBotanically the swede is Brassica napus Napobrassica Group, a biennial usually grown as an annual. Its origins are unclear, but it may have been developed in Bohemia in the 17th century, as the result of a cross between a turnip and wild cabbage. Today the swede is one of the hardiest root crops, and is grown usually for autumn and winter use.
While it is generally known as ‘swede’ or ‘Swedish turnip’, in the USA it is called ‘rutabaga’, which derives from the Swedish ‘rotabagge’ meaning ‘thick root’. The swede is thought to have been introduced into Britain around 1800. It is said that King Gustav of Sweden sent the first swede seeds as a gift to Patrick Miller (1731 – 1815) of Dumfries and Galloway, and that this act resulted in the vegetable being called ‘swede’.
The turnip is Brassica rapa Rapifera Group; the species originated in central and southern Europe, probably around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (23 – 79AD) regarded it as an important vegetable, and praised it as a great defence against famine. While it is mainly grown for its usually white, delicately flavoured roots, its leaves are also edible and eaten as ‘turnip greens’, Turnips are high in vitamin C.