Jerusalem Artichokes or Sunchokes
The Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) is a perennial sunflower native to North America. It produces tubers that look similar to ginger with a white flesh. They can be eaten raw or cooked and have mild nutty flavour and a consistency close to that of a water chestnut compared to soft like a potato.
These healthy tubers are a great prebiotic! Prebiotics are essentially food for your gut bacteria, and are just as important as probiotics when it comes to a healthy balanced digestive tract. Be warned they contain powerful fibre that can cause unwanted gas when consumed in large quantities.
The skin on Jerusalem artichokes are edible (thank goodness, as they are rather annoying to peel) but if you would prefer to have them gone you could boil them for around twenty minutes until tender and then peel them. A tip for eating them raw, you can add lemon juice to avoid them going brown like apples. Jerusalem artichoke’s pair really nicely with sage, thyme, butter, bacon, bay, cream, breadcrumbs, garlic, cheese and anything smoked.
Some quick benefits of Jerusalem artichokes
-Can lower blood pressure
-Are high in potassium
-Are a liver friendly food (they are high in sulfur containing amino acids such as, taurine and cystine. These are essential for maintaining the flexibility of connective tissue and helping liver detoxify effectively)
Below is a recipe you can easily make with this year’s harvest. I like to use recipes as a general guide so feel free to add more veggies to it! This would be great with some asparagus or fiddleheads added.
Sautéed Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic Chives
2 cups (give or take) Jerusalem artichokes
1 tablespoon of butter or ghee, or vegan alternative of choice
2 cloves garlic
Around 1/3 cup of chopped chives
1 splash apple cider vinegar
Wash well, and slice into thin coins. Place them in a frying pan and fry in butter on a medium heat until golden on both sides, then add 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced, a splash of apple cider vinegar, some salt and pepper, and place a lid on top. After about 20 to 25 minutes they will have softened up nicely and you can remove the lid. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes adding in the chives near the very end and drizzle with olive oil once plated. A very satisfying side dish all summer long!
Holly Morris, RHN