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I want to make a British-style pickle relish at home. I think the best recipes involve swede (rutabaga in the US), because it gives texture and flavour, but isn't overpowering. Unforunately, I can't get swedes where I live.

What would make a good substitute?

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Since I just had to look this up myself, the vegetable is known as Rutabaga in the US, and is sometimes sold under the name "Wax Turnip." –  Martha F. Mar 5 '11 at 18:35
I guess it's kind of an obvious suggestion, but... Have you tried kohlrabi? –  Shog9 Mar 6 '11 at 0:05

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I am a big fan of swedes/rutabagas. When I can't get them I use turnips, beets, daikon radishes. Carrots/parsnips add some interesting flavor as well.

A couple other vegetables that are crunchy and nice-flavored but more exotic are celery root or jicama.

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Ooh, jicama, how did I forget that? +1 just for that! –  daniel Mar 7 '11 at 3:49

Anything crunchy should work fine. Radish, daikon (yes I know it's a kind of radish), carrot, fennel...

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Wouldn't radishes give too much of the astringent/hars flavour to the finished pickle relish? I'll give carrots a try next time. –  Carmi Mar 5 '11 at 19:27
Pickled radishes are extremely mellow in comparison to their raw form. Daikon particularly. –  daniel Mar 5 '11 at 19:32
@Carmi, aren't carrots already in the recipe? I'm assuming that by "British-style pickle" you mean something similar to Branston pickle, and that does contain carrots in addition to swede. –  Peter Taylor Mar 6 '11 at 9:14
@Peter Taylor: The recipe I have has onions, swedes, apples raisins and vinegar, as well as sugar and the spices. Branston pickle is what I'm aiming for. As I said above, I'll be giving carrots a try next time I make a batch. –  Carmi Mar 6 '11 at 11:08

water chestnuts might do the trick for crunch.

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Could you use a turnip (or several)? My understanding is that this is the "closest" vegetable to the rutabaga.

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