Sunchokes, also called Jerusalem artichokes, hold a special place in my heart. Mostly because they remind me of my home away from home – the rich and earthy Piemonte region where they are a popular treat. Here, they call them “Topinambur,” which is such a fabulous Italian word!
Aside from the fact they remind me of Italy, I also love sunchokes because they are so full of nutrients that they are basically a superfood.
I know that if you try them, you’ll love them just as much as I do. Let’s explore why these little tubers are so good for you, as well as how you can use Jerusalem artichokes in your own recipes!
And while they are called Jerusalem artichoke, don’t let the artichoke in the name fool you – they are nothing like artichokes!
In fact, these knobby little tubers are part of the sunflower family (why they’re called sunchokes) and have a sweet and nutty flavor. They look a little like ginger root with the starchy consistency of a potato and taste a little like chestnuts (when cooked) or jicamas (when raw).
While sunchokes are native to North America (and were commonly used by the natives), they aren’t always so commonly seen in grocery stores around America, Back in Piemonte, Italy and the surrounding regions, however, they are a staple food. Here, the people use them in simple yet hearty dishes, or to add a fresh crunch to salads and raw dishes.
Jerusalem artichokes are rich in many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, iron, and potassium.
If you want to reap all the great health benefits of Jerusalem artichokes, but don’t know what to do with them, don’t fret! They may look a little strange, but they are one of the simplest new ingredients to add to your repertoire, with simple recipes.
To prepare them, simply brush them clean and wash them. No need to peel, but do make sure there’s no lingering soil. If needed, use a paring knife to remove any impurities. For the best results, drop them into a bowl of cold water and lemon juice after washing to keep them browning while you prepare them.