Swedes - Tuwīti tānapu

Swedes belong to the same family as turnips and cabbages.

They are a hybrid between a turnip and a type of cabbage and were developed in Sweden in the 17th century and are also known as Swedish turnips or rutabaga - Swedish for red bags, which refers to the purple, bronze crowns. Different cultures have developed their own ways to use them.

Swedes have a delicate, sweet flavour, a great texture and are very versatile. The top half of the swede is purple, and the lower half cream. Swedes are more available in winter and taste better after a good frost, therefore the best swedes in New Zealand are reputed to be those grown in Southland. The leaves are eaten in many countries, however, it's the edible roots that are commercially available in New Zealand.

What to look for

Choose smaller swedes, about the size of a cricket ball, with smooth skin and firm flesh.


Available: all year


Refrigerate in paper bags.

How to prepare

If swedes are fresh and young, leave the skin on. Otherwise peel and cut to size.

Ways to eat

Swedes can be eaten raw if fresh and young. Older swedes can be boiled, mashed, stir fried, roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, glazed or pickled. They absorb flavours well so add to soups, stews or braises. Flavourings such as nutmeg, parsley, coriander and black pepper go well with swedes.

Cooking methods

Bake, boil, braise, microwave, steam, stew.


Swedes are a good source of vitamin C, a source of dietary fibre, niacin, thiamin and vitamin B6 and contain a dietary significant amount of potassium. Swedes are members of the Brassica family and contain similar phytonutrients, particularly the glucosinolates and phytosterols.

Nutrition table

SWEDE Raw      
Nutrition Information        
Serving size: 1 cup, cubes = 140g      
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 176/42 2% 125/30  
Protein (g) 1.12 2% 0.8  
Fat, total (g) 0.1 0% 0.1  
 - saturated (g) 0.02 0% 0.02  
Available carbohydrate (g) 7.1 2% 5.1  
 - sugars (g) 6.9 8% 4.9  
Dietary Fibre (g) 3.8   2.7 A source of dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 29.4 1% 21  
Vitamin C (mg) 27 67% RDI* 19 A good source of vitamin C
Niacin (mg) 1.4 14% RDI* 1 A source of niacin
Thiamin (mg) 0.14 13% RDI* 0.1 A source of thiamin
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.32 20% RDI* 0.23 A source of vitamin B6
Potassium (mg) 223   159 Contains potassium
Folate (µg)  14 7% RDI* 10  
Iron (mg) 0.2 2% RDI* 0.1  
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ 
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs 
 *Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)  
Source: FOODfiles 2018        



Place next to turnips. Offer samples of raw swede. Pre-pack with carrot and parsnip as a soup mix. Customers may not know how to use swedes, so use the QR code on labels.

Store at 0ºC with a relative humidity of 90-100%.

Purchase swedes with the New Zealand GAP logo.