The main difference between a swede and a turnip is the appearance of the vegetable. Turnips are white-fleshed, and swedes are yellow-fleshed. Swedes are slightly larger, rounder and firmer than turnips, and their leaves are smoother. The University of Illinois Extension states that swedes are a cross between cabbage and turnip. Swedes are called rutabagas in America, as stated by BBC Good Food.
According to the University of Illinois Extension, both turnips and swedes are the best quality when they are medium in size. This is 2 to 3 inches in diameter for turnips and 3 to 5 inches in diameter for rutabagas. Both swedes and turnips are considered root vegetables, and they grow best in the cooler seasons of spring and fall.
After turnips or swedes are brought home, any green tops should be cut. Martha Steward Living states that the vegetables should be wrapped in an airtight bag and stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Baby turnips should be used within a few days, whereas larger turnips and swedes may be stored for up to several weeks. To cook turnips and swedes, they should be peeled and cut into chunks. They may then be enjoyed roasted, boiled or steamed.