On your next foray down the produce aisle, don’t overlook the wonderful sunchoke, aka Jerusalem Artichoke. These tubers look nothing like an artichoke and are easily mistaken for a strange potato!. A native North American plant, sunchokes are a member of the sunflower family.
Low in calories and nutrient dense, sunchokes provide iron, potassium, thiamin (one of the B vitamins) and a good amount of fiber in a one-cup serving. The carbohydrate contained in sunchokes is inulin, which doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar, so it’s a great option for anyone concerned about diabetes or weight management. Sunchokes also contain vitamins, A, C, and E. The most unique nutrient found in sunchokes is known as prebiotics, a type of non-digestible carbohydrate found in many root vegetables. Food-based prebiotics enhance nutrient absorption and help maintain a healthy intestinal tract by promoting growth of “good” gut bacteria, which supports immunity.
Sunchokes have a nutty, mildly sweet flavor and are delightful to eat raw – shredded or sliced into a salad or sliced and served with raw carrots and other veggies. They can be cooked in a variety of ways and added to stir-fry dishes in lieu of water chestnuts. Their flavor is enhanced when lightly seasoned for sautéing or roasting. You can also puree sunchokes for soups.
Available year-round in the U.S., prime harvest time is October through early spring. Buy tubers that are firm, free of sprouts or bruises, with a smooth, clean surface making them easier to prepare.
- NutritionAndYou.com “Jerusalem Artichokes.” Accessed 11 June 2018: https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/jerusalem-artichoke.html
- Chatelaine.com “Five Health Benefits of Jerusalem Artichokes.” Accessed 11 June 2018: https://www.chatelaine.com/health/diet/five-health-benefits-of-jerusalem-artichokes-sunchokes/
- DonnieYance.com “Sunchokes: A humble food with many health benefits.” Accessed 11 June 2018: http://www.donnieyance.com/sunchokes-a-humble-food-with-many-health-benefits/