How to peel and cut a swede – the easiest method

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Swede is a root vegetable, which can also be called rutabaga or neeps – and is perfect to eat as the weather turns cold. Swede is delicious in soups, stews, mashed or as a side as autumn hits.

Swede is a member of the cabbage family, and is often confused with the turnip, despite looking quite different.

The tasty vegetable is also known as yellow turnip, Swedish turnip and Russian turnip and, in America, rutabaga.

Swede is round in shape and has a purple-green skin, the flesh is yellow-orange, with a sweet, earthy flavour.

Swede can crumble fairly easily if it sovercooked, so always keep to cooking times.

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How to peel and cut a swede

Swede has a thick skin, so before cooking with it you need to get rid of this.

First you need to wash the outside of the turnip to remove any dirt.

Next, place the swede on a chopping board and slice it in half.

Be careful with this as the swede is round and can easily slip and cause you to cut your fingers.

Cutting the swede in half will then give you two halves to will lie flat on the board, making it easier to cut.

Turn each half onto its flat side, and chop it into slices around half an inch thick.

You should throw away the first and last slice which are covered in thick skin.

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Next, use a paring knife to remove the outer skin of each slice.

This method is easier and quicker than using a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.

Once the skin is removed, you can cut the swede to your desired size.

How to make the best swede mash

If you’re wondering how to make the tastiest mashed swede for your Sunday dinner, here is the perfect recipe from BBC Food.


  • One swede (around 750g/1lb 10oz), peeled and cut into 2.5cm/1in chunks 
  • half a teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra to season
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • freshly ground black pepper


Put the swede in a large, lidded saucepan. Fill with enough cold water to almost cover the chunks.

Add the butter and half a teaspoon salt, cover and place over a high heat.

Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the swede is just tender, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid, increase the heat and boil hard for a further five minutes, or until the swede is soft and the liquid has reduced to around five tablespoons.

Remove the pan from the heat and mash until smooth.

Return to a low heat, season with more salt and pepper and cook for a further minute. Serve.

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