This vegetable, also called the Jerusalem artichoke, has nothing to do with Jerusalem nor artichokes. It is the tuber of a plant in the sunflower family, which has been enjoyed by Native Americans for centuries. This unassuming knobby root, which you’ve probably overlooked in the produce department, can be eaten both raw and cooked.
Raw sunchokes are crunchy and have a slightly sweet flavor. Cooked, they are delicious and have a starchy texture, somewhat similar to a potato. I simply sliced and steamed them, to really taste their unique flavor, before trying them in other dishes. Yum!
Sunchokes are a good source of iron, potassium, phosphorus, several B vitamins, and vitamin C.
They are also high in inulin, a special type of carbohydrate that can’t be digested by humans. Because inulin isn’t digested by us, it does not raise our blood sugar levels, traveling on to the colon instead. There, it acts as a prebiotic, nourishing and increasing the number of Bifidobacteria, a healthy type of gut bacteria that performs many important functions for us.
Sunchokes are currently available locally. They are harvested from November to March.