The Difference Between a Swede and a Turnip

It’s as different as different can get.  Although there are many tell-tale signs that would distinguish swedes from turnips, people still confuse them — and understandably so.

Swedes are known as “neeps” in Scotland while turnips are called, well, still turnips.

In the United States, although swedes are called yellow turnips in some areas and turnips as white turnips, swede is generally known as rutabagas from the Scottish word rotabagge.

Both also look similar in shape and form.  However, they are botanically different and if you look closely enough, you would see there exists a lot of differences between them.

For one, turnips are usually smaller than Swedes with creamy white, smooth skin.  Some have a tinge of purple on the top part of its roots.  Swedes or rutabagas are a lot bigger, its skin dark and tough, with a hue of yellow-orange in its flesh.

Although both can be eaten raw whether in a salad or mixed in other dishes, turnips taste stronger than Swedes whose flavor is on the sweet side.  Turnips also have a higher water content compared to rutabagas.

Both root crops are also different in terms of growing.

Turnips are easy to grow but swedes are easier.  They do not require a high level of fertility and can be left without tending throughout winter.  Swedes also crop over a longer period of time compared to turnips.

Turnips on the other hand are fast-growing – they can be harvested in just five to eight weeks.  And since they grow fast, they also require a higher level of fertility.  However, unlike rutabagas, turnips are unable to withstand hard frosts.


3 Responses to “The Difference Between a Swede and a Turnip”

  1. Jeremy says:

    I am looking for recipe for gammon and turnip: both diced, fried in butter – gammon first – then broiled in thin cream (plus stock?) and add parsley and pepper at the end… I think that’s it, but I may be missing something. It’s good, but not as good as I remember it!

  2. Truth says:

    Turnip and Swede are the exact same plant. The only variations are due to nomenclature only, mostly related to regional naming.

  3. Nan says:

    They are completely different. A turnip has white flesh and it the size of a tennis ball. A swede has orange flesh and about 4 times bigger.