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Scientific Name

Brassina napus var. napobrassica (Brassicaceae family)

Common name


Swede varieties

The term "swede", is rooted in the vegetable’s Swedish origins. It is also known as “rutabaga”, which comes from the Swedish rottabaggar for “turnip cabbage”.

In French-speaking Quebec, it is sometimes called “chou de Siam”, an old expression, formerly used in France and which seems to have preceded its current name, since it appears in 1798 in the dictionary of the Académie Française.

The swede is called “cabbage-turnip” because it belongs to the Cruciferea family like all varieties of cabbage, mustard plants, turnips and cress. There are white varieties and purplish-blue varieties with white flesh and, lastly, the most refined in terms of taste:the  yellow swedes with a yellow flesh.

Vegetable garden: growing swede

The swede is shaped like a large turnip and has a yellow/green colour. It has a strong, earthy flavour. It is an autumn and winter vegetable. The swede is a low-calorie cabbage that grows in the ground. Its root is rich in vitamin C. It is a winter vegetable with a white to orange flesh. Steamed, it has a sweet taste and is often associated with sage, thyme, curry or nutmeg. It is available from September to May.

Creating a vegetable garden


It is produced in Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States.


It is most often eaten in soups, mixed with other vegetables, but it can also be eaten alone as an accompaniment to a meat dish, for example.

It seems that swede possibly originates from a cross between a kale and a turnip (hence the name “cabbage-turnip”). This hybrid probably first appeared in Europe, since the first example is found there in the late Middle Ages. It is not mentioned in books until 1620, the year a Swiss botanist described it in detail. The English name “swede” or “swede turnip” suggests that this hybrid was first produced in Sweden.  

Nutritional values (per 100 g)



RDI **


36 kcal

39 kcal


1.2 g

1.29 g


8.13 g

8.74 g


0.2 g

0.22 g


2.5 g

1.8 g

30 g


20 mg

20 mg


337 mg

326 mg

2,000 mg

Vitamin C

25 mg

18.8 mg

80 mg

Vitamin B1

0.09 mg

0.082 mg

1.1 mg

Vitamin B9

21 µg

15 µg

200 µg

*USDA ** Recommended Daily Intake

Nutritionist’s advice

A source of vitamin C, swedes are set to restore their fortunes and leave their reputation as a "wartime vegetable" behind.

Its fibre content stimulates regular bowel movements, while its high levels of potassium provide it with natural diuretic properties. In addition, it is very low in calories.

When it comes portions...?

a child portion : four table spoons of grated swede

an adult portion: a medium ladle of grated swede

Cooking and nutrition: tasty combinations

Stews: a classic French dish, the “pot au feu” always contains a turnip or swede, to enhance its aromatic delights. This dish offers a variety of vegetables with complementary nutritional properties: beta-carotene from carrots, vitamin B9 from leeks, vitamin C from all of the vegetables and various forms of fibre.

Gratin of swede: once cooked, serve the swede in a gratin dish and cover with a white sauce and some grated cheese. This dish is sure to be a hit with the whole family, full of fibre, calcium and vitamins.

>> See all of the foundation’s recipes


Swede is one of the cabbage family. People with sensitive digestive systems can cook swede with a few caraway or anise seeds to avoid any odours that are too strong.

Additional info

Swede is high in potassium, which means it has naturally diuretic properties. A source of vitamin C, even when cooked, it will contribute - as it used to in the past - to covering your daily needs throughout the winter.