Swede’s a southern thing

My favourite meal of the week when I was growing up was Sunday dinner.

Mum would put the roast in the oven and ice cream in the freezer before we went to church.

We’d come home to the delights of roast mutton and potatoes, accompanied by mint sauce, gravy (made the proper way in the roasting dish) and, in winter, swede.

The delights of swede escape many people further north. That could be because, like stone fruit, swedes need good frosts to enhance their sweetness.

To my farmer’s regret we rarely have roasts and I can’t remember the last time I cooked swede.

But reading swedes sales grow full-blown business  has reminded my taste buds of those long ago dinners.

It’s too early yet, but when we’ve had a few frosts I”ll be hoping the stock won’t mind if a few swedes make their way from the paddock to my pot.






7 Responses to Swede’s a southern thing

  1. Richard says:

    HP, if your farmer is denied roast mutton or lamb he is missing out on the leftovers that can be made into the traditional Cottage Pie- delicious with swede. Meat needs to be minced in one of those old caste-iron mincers, bolted to the kitchen bench, that are no longer around.


  2. Mr E says:

    I love emm. Swedes that is. I had swede for lunch. We have had a couple of frosts. And although the swedes need more frosts it would be imaginable to wish more frosts at the moment. Farmers need grass growth.

    Now that I have said all of that, I doubt it is the frosts that directly create the sweetening effect. Rather the cold soil as a result of frosts and temperature reductions slow down the respiration process. Revisiting 5th form science, photosynthesis during the day creates carbohydrates (including sugars) which are converted to less digestable products like cell walls (fibre) during the process of respiration at night. Our cold nights slow the respiration process – the conversion of sugars to other things. So the effect is a result of sunny days and cold nights. The exact conditions present during frosts. When you are digging swedes look for sunny days and frosty nights.
    Hopefully that description stops northerners trying to freeze their swedes.

    I eat swedes often. They are great raw. Sliced into thin straws and tossed in a salad is one of my favourites. My old dog prefers swede over dog tucker. Although the digestion process is not family friendly.


  3. tiffany267 says:

    In the U.S. they’re more commonly called rutabagas. I finally tried them the other day, and it was delicious.


  4. TraceyS says:

    I have always wondered what rutabagas were! Came across the term in a children’s book once…

    As a child I absolutely hated swedes boiled and mashed. Yuck! (my mother was very English when it came to cooking)

    Fine roasted or raw.

    We had roast mutton last night for tea. Cooked in the coal range. Real gravy as always. No roast swede but parsnip, potatoes and pumpkin from the garden.


  5. pdm says:

    Swedes were a regular part of our winter diet when I was growing up. I was never a great fan but of course in those days we had to eat what was put in front of us.

    Fortunately I chose my wife well as she too is not a swede fan so they have not been seen on our table at home for 10 days short of 43 years.


  6. fredinthegrass says:

    I am unsure of my info source but recall being told swede is virtually a complete food. Apparently we can survive for a considerable time on a diet of swede.
    I dont intend to test it out but love ’em in many ways.
    Favourite is steamed, mashed with cream and liberal sprinklings of course ground pepper.


  7. fredinthegrass says:

    Congratulation for 10 days time – but do try the creamed mashed swede!


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