Commodity: Rutabagas

Rutabagas

Commodity Overview

Rutabagas have a small following, but they create the appearance of a well-stocked produce department. They also attract a consumer base that while small is interested in unusual items.

Varieties

This commodity is not typically marketed by variety.

Facts

  • Rutabagas may not be well-known, but they contain many health benefits. They contain potassium, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure. The vitamin A in rutabaga helps keep eyes and skin healthy. Rutabaga contains niacin, which protects against cardiovascular disease. Zinc is found in rutabaga. Zinc is important for regulating your immune system and metabolism.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following nutrient content descriptors for rutabagas: fat-free, saturated fat-free, very low-sodium, cholesterol-free, low in calories and high in vitamin A.

Sales Strategies

  • Cross-merchandise rutabagas with soup stock and broth, soup vegetables, salad vegetables and bagged salads.
  • Rutabaga is available year-round so include it in promotions throughout the year.
  • Fall: Rutabaga sticks served with dip are a healthy, tasty treat that can be a perfect match for back-to-school promotions.
  • Winter: Include rutabaga in winter soup promotions as that is how it is most commonly used.
  • Spring: Promote rutabaga to health-conscious consumers as a replacement for starchy potatoes.
  • Summer: Include rutabaga in summertime promotions as an alternative to french fries to go with those summer burgers.

Dynamic Displays

  • Extend rutabagas’ shelf life by displaying them on refrigerated tables and in refrigerated cases.
  • Place rutabagas near other cooking vegetables, especially those used in soup.
  • Use rutabagas purple color to draw the eye and create a color break in your cooking vegetables section.
  • Most consumers are unfamiliar with rutabagas. Include preparation tips and recipes on your display. Consider posting signs telling consumers about the flavor of rutabagas and how they are used.

Food Service

  • Peel rutabagas before cooking them.
  • Substitute rutabagas in recipes that call for turnips. Keep in mind that rutabagas are sweeter and have a lower water content.
  • Add rutabaga to soups and stews. Rutabaga’s sweet flavor is a good companion for potatoes, apples and carrots.
  • Offer rutabaga sticks as part of an appetizer dipping tray.
  • Fried rutabaga can be a substitute for french fries for customers following a paleo diet.

In The Backroom

Shipping

50-lb. bushel cartons/bags 25-lb. 1⁄2-bushel cartons, bags RPC – Not available

Grades

U.S. No. 1 U.S. No. 2

Handling

Temperature: 32 F (0 C) Relative humidity: 95-100% Mist: no Typical shelf life: 120 to 180 days Somewhat sensitive to freezing injury (Can be lightly frozen several times without sustaining serious damage.) Store unwrapped in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation. Size is not a quality factor, although lightweight rutabagas may be woody. Rutabagas are generally dipped in an edible vegetable wax to help them keep better.

Availability

Nutrition Labels

Equivalents

Allow about 1⁄3 pound per person 1 lb. of rutabagas diced and cooked = 2½ cup

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