When choosing, select Swedish kale for your salad or side dish. These are firm, green, and pale green leaves with a mild flavor and should be firm enough to eat. They should also feel heavy for their size and feel dense enough to retain their shape. Most commercial kale is covered with some sort of an edible wax to prevent them from drying out for a few months to a year if kept in a dry, cool place. If you store them at room temperature they will last a bit longer.
Sweden has a rich tradition in the production and processing of vegetable greens. Traditionally, the Swedish vegetables were farmed on small farms that relied on the natural runoff of rainwater. These farms did not use pesticides and other synthetic chemicals, as is common in today's farming industry. The result was rich, dark-colored vegetables that was tastier than those available in America or Europe. Kale was considered a luxury in those days and was only served to very close family members.
Today, most people know Sweden due to their delicious vegetable salads and side dishes. Although they are now producing most of their own vegetables, they still rely heavily on swedes from warmer climates. In fact, the majority of their meat is swedes. Sweden produces about 10 pounds of swedes for every one pound of spinach.
A swede is a type of cabbage with a long, thin head. It is used as a vegetable and for grating while the more familiar turnip is more often used as a side dish or as a cabbage. Both types are tender, sweet and meaty. Both the turnip and cabbage are very similar and have their own unique attributes.
The name "Swede" comes from the words sweder, meaning "to scatter or send forth" and tenor, meaning "of the cabbage family." Because of their similarity in appearance, many people believe the two vegetables are one and the same. However, the truth is that cabbage and Swedes have different growth habits, growth stages, origins, uses and cooking styles. While both cabbage family members are annual, they are distinctly different. Growing cabbage requires trellis system or a trellis netting to support it's growth. On the other hand, swedes grow up to three feet high and are often confused with turnips.
While both cabbage and Swede are annuals, they are distinctly different. A cabbage plant will produce new shoots while a swede will continue to grow until the soil conditions are right for it to be killed. When you cook a swede, the leaves become slimy and soft and are often boiled to make leeks. A cabbage leaf will turn grey when cooked.
Cabbage is usually roasting rather than frying while a swede is braised or stewed. Both of these are quite common in America today. A cabbage plant has green leaves, while a turnip has dark green leaves. Both plants are usually eaten raw in salads and juices, while a turnip is eaten cooked and its skin added to dishes. There are numerous varieties of turnips and cabbage, but only the Royal Gramma or Swedish Rokk is a widely sold turnip variety in America. The Royal Gramma is typically milling to maintain the shape and the flavor.
Whether eating a turnip or cabbage, a swede and egg dish is always a tasty choice. Both of these vegetable dishes are popular around the holiday season and throughout the year. A roasted swede and egg dish is light and quite healthy. Try cooking it on an olive oil board and top with some salad greens to create a meal that's both delicious and good for you.