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Friday, October 21, 2016

Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes)

Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes):

About:

Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosis) is a bumby, fleshy, root vegetable of the sunflower family.   Its underground, nutty, flavorful starch rich root is eaten much the same as a potato in many parts of Western Europe and Mediterranean regions.  Not to be confused with Globe Artichokes, which are edible flower buds, it is not an artichoke from Jerusalem.   Some other common names for the Jerusalem artichoke are "sunchoke", "Canadian truffles",and "topinambour"  

History:

Jerusalem artichokes are native to Central America.  They were first cultivated by the Native Americans long before the arrival of Europeans.  They were found domestically grown in Cape Cod in 1605.  Jerusalem artichokes were brought to France, and by the mid 1600's were commonly consumed in Europe and the Americas.  Jerusalem artichokes were titled, "Best Soup Vegetable at the 2002 Nice Festival for Heritage of French cuisine. 

Health Benefits:

Jerusalem artichokes are moderately high in calories, similar to a potato, but has negligible amounts of fat a contains no cholesterol..  Its high quality phyto-nutrition profile is comprised of dietary fiber and antioxidants in addition to small portions of minerals such as potassium, iron, and copper, and vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E.  These vitamins along with flavonoid compounds like carotenes help scavenge harmful free radicals and there-by offer protection from cancer's inflammation and viral coughs and colds.  


Season:

Jerusalem artichokes, also called Sunchokes are commonly found in U.S. markets year round , but are there best from November to March. 

Selecting and Storing:

Select tubers with smooth surfaces , as they pose less difficulty in preparation.  Look for average size clean, firm tubers.  Avoid any that are sprouted, diseased or have bruised roots.  
Once home store in a cold, dark section of the refrigerator for up to 10 days. 

Using:

Jerusalem artichokes can be cooked much the same way as potatoes or parsnips, and are excellent roasted, sauteed or dipped in batter and fried, or pureed to make a delicious soup.  
Jerusalem artichokes can also be:
  • finely julienned as a great addition to salads or slaw
  • cut into thin slices and fried in vegetable oil like potato chips
  • boiled and pureed to use as a dip or filling for pancakes
  • added as a complement to potatoes or in soups or stews
  • roasted as a side side dish 

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.


Simple but Good: 

Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes:


1 lb Jerusalem artichokes
3/4 cup olive oil
2 TBS dried thyme
1 TBS minced garlic
Sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Scrub Jerusalem artichokes, and cut out eyes.  Cut into 1 inch cubes.
Mix olive oil, thyme. garlic, and sea salt in a large bowl.
Add Jerusalem artichoke pieces in an evenly spaced layer on a baking sheet.
Roast in the preheated oven until tender (about 35 - 45 minutes).


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