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Jerusalem Artichokes are funny little things, grossly misnamed because they’re neither real artichokes nor are they from Jerusalem!
The Jerusalem Artichoke is native to North America and is in fact, a member of the lettuce family that is also related to the sunflower, the latter I’m sure is what gave some clever fella the idea that sunchoke would be a better name for these knobbly tubers! In the US at least, the word sunchoke is becoming more popular in the professional culinary world.
There is a persistent rumour that consuming the jerusalem artichoke is going to give rise to excessive wind the next day! Sadly, this is true! The science tells you that it’s the presence of inulin in the tubers that gives rise to this child-hysterics-inducing phenomenon. We don’t have the right enzyme to digest inulin, so the task is relegated to the friendly bacteria down the line. It’s at this production level, when the bacteria come to play, that the excess carbon dioxide is produced in exchange for energy. It’s all about give and take, right?
But they are good for you! Jerusalem Artichokes are full of minerals and electrolytes, like potassium, copper and iron.
How to store Jerusalem Artichokes?
Jerusalem Artichoke season here in the UK, is October to March.
They will store quite happily for a couple of weeks in the fridge if allowed to breathe in a paper bag or wrapped up in paper towels.
Besides the creamy, smoky flavour, I love Jerusalem artichokes for their versatility; you can bake, sauté, boil or steam them! One of my favourite ways is to add a few of them to whatever potato dish I might be making, they add a lovely dimension to gratin dishes!
One of my favourite recipes with Jerusalem Artichoke is this velouté: