Vegetable insights

Quite possibly everything you ever wanted to know about …

Jerusalem artichoke

Jerusalem artichoke is a root vegetable (a tuber), somewhat similar in
use to, and a possible substitute for, the potato.

  • The Jerusalem artichoke plant (Helianthus tuberosus) is a species of sunflower (the decorative type that we usually call a sunflower is Helianthus annuus).
  • Some other names for both plant and veggie are sunchoke, sunroot, earth apple, Canada potato, and topinambour.
  • Chokes are a native of eastern North America, perennial, easy to grow, spreads easily, reaches 3′-12′ in height, and has yellow flowers
  • Chokes are not related to the regular globe artichoke (which is a member of the thistle family).
  • Origins of the name are not entirely clear. “Jerusalem” may come from a corruption of the Italian for sunflower, girasole, and “artichoke” from a similarity in taste.
  • Chokes have around 70 calories per 100g, about the same as potatoes.
  • Chokes are high in potassium, with significant iron and magnesium, and also contribute phosphorus, calcium, vitamin C and a bunch of B vitamins including thiamin.
  • Chokes are high in the carbohydrate, inulin, a dietary fiber and prebiotic (fuels beneficial bacteria in the gut) that’s also big in garlic, onions, Echinacea, and bananas.
  • Thanks to inulin, which the human digestive system does not convert into sugars, chokes score low on the glycemic index (GI), which means no blood sugar spikes.
  • Chokes may cause gas, particularly when eaten in large quantity, for the first time, and by people with sensitivities.
  • To grow: We plant every spring (in May or early June), 12” apart, and completely harvest them in fall (pull up the whole plant). As a perennial, there will always be volunteer
  • To harvest: In the fall, pull up the whole plant, which will usually be several stems in a group. You can also harvest ’em all winter.
  • To store: Keep cool and and dry—in a plastic bag or container in the fridge, they can last all winter.
  • To prepare: Wash, scrub, you don’t need to peel, but you can if you want. Use whole, or slice, grate, cut up as you please.
  • To cook: Sauté, roast, grill, steam, boil (you can then also mash), deep fry (for chips), cook then puree, or use raw. Be careful not to overcook, experiment, poke with a fork!
  • You can find tons of recipes and more info by searching online!