NAME // Jerusalem artichoke, aka sunroot or sunchoke, scientifically known as helianthus tuberosus. IN SEASON // November to March
WHAT IS IT? // it's a knobbly root vegetable that in a appearance is like a cross between a potato and ginger root but it's actually part of the sunflower family
NUTRITION // in studies the soluble and insoluble fibre was found to help with constipation. Fairly high in calories in terms of vegetables, much like potatoes. Very good source of electrolytes and minerals, particularly potassium, iron and copper. Vitamin content includes A, E and C. In short, these little wonders are good for you!
HOW TO STORE // keep in a cool, dark place and it should keep for around 10 days
I admit to never having eaten Jerusalem (not at all religious - it actually get it's name from the Italian word for sunflower) artichokes before but wow, am I glad I did. I read that they are a bit like parsnips and they are slightly but also different enough even this parsnip disliking chick loves them! I roasted mine in their skins for this recipe and I was totally blown away by how nice they were - earthy, slightly chewy skin housing tender, tasty flesh... mmmmm. When raw, they're sweet and crunchy.
If you plan on peeling for a soup or other recipe that requires them without a skin, look for less knobbly ones as they will be easier to handle. Mash with a bit of parmesan for a wonderful accompaniment to anything salty - gammon, salty fish, chorizo. Or pair raw Jerusalem artichokes with chicory and an asian dressing for a fresh salad.
Here's some recipes to inspire you but it's worth bearing in mind that these little fellas do cause a bit of wind so you might want to avoid if cooking a romantic dinner. That last one, oh man, I'm making that tomorrow (unless anyone wants to take me for a romantic dinner - ha!).
Formally Emma Gutteridge