Ingredient of the Week: Swede
Swede is a root vegetable that is frequently ignored or mistaken for other vegetables. One of which is turnip. In fact in Scotland they refer to both vegetables as neeps, as in ‘neeps and tatties’, the traditional accompaniment to haggis. It is a large round root, bigger than a turnip, a similar size to a cabbage. In fact, genetically, it is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. I only ever buy it when it is on special offer in Tesco. At the moment, this seems to be often, so I have had to come up with a few different ways to use it. It is great added to mash potato for an extra vegetable in your meal, or chopped up in to soups or stews. Why not try it in a risotto like my chorizo, root vegetable and barley one? Or spice it up a little in my chicken, root vegetable and lentil dahl?
Why is it good for me?
Classed as a cruciferous vegetable, like cauliflower, kale and rocket, swede is rich in phytonutrients, plant based compounds that have been found to help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer. It is another good source of vitamin C, so beneficial during winter to stave off any colds. Another benefit to vitamin C is that when consumed alongside an iron rich food, it can aid in the body’s absorption of this vital mineral.
Other benefits to incorporating swede in your diet include helping build and maintain strong bones, helping with the correct functioning of muscles and nerves, and repairing wounds and muscle damage. This is thanks to the calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc contained within this vegetable. Therefore it is especially good for athletes to eat.
How do I prepare it?
Due to its large size, one swede can generally be used in at least three meals. Simply cut the size of piece you wish to use from it and wrap the remaining in clingfilm, or something similar, and store in the fridge for next time. It will keep for over a week. Use a potato peeler to remove the skin and trim any of the woody end or base that you don’t wish to eat with a knife. Then chop it in to small pieces.
How do I cook it?
Swede cooks very similarly to potato and makes a great substitute for it. There are fewer calories in swede as it has less carbohydrate, so is a great swap if you are trying to cut down on your daily intake. It mashes really well and can be combined with all other root vegetables to make a really tasty and nutritious root mash. I like to use a combination of sweet potato, carrot, parsnip and swede for mine and use it on top of cottage or fish pie. Just remember, swede takes slightly longer to cook than other root vegetables, so add it to the pan first and leave to boil for 5 mins or so before adding any other vegetables.
I would not class swede as one of my favourite vegetables, but I do really enjoy a big bowl of sausage and root vegetable stovies. It really suits all those comforting home made winter meals that you just want to tuck in to when you get in from the cold.
Have you tried including swede in your diet? If so, do you have a suggestion for using it that I have missed? Get in touch and share.
Thank you for reading and speak soon.