Jerusalem artichokes, often called “sunchokes” are native to North America and are no relation at all to artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes belong to the sunflower family. The white flesh is nutty, sweet and crunchy like chestnuts when raw. Baked in their skins, they become more like potatoes with a mild taste of artichoke hearts.
Best Storage Practices:
Refrigerate unwashed in a bag for up to several weeks in the veggie crisper bin (32-36 degrees F)
Fun Ways to Eat and Cook:
This fresh tuber tastes like a water chestnut and is often used in salads. The tubers can also be cooked like potatoes - boiled, mashed, roasted, or sautéed. Do not overcook, as they quickly turn mushy.
Selecting Jerusalem Artichokes:
Select firm sunchokes that are free of mold and wrinkles. Sunchokes vary in color with their shades ranging from dark brown to light brown, similar to ginger.
Why it's Good to Eat:
- Good source of potassium and iron
- Moderately high in calories, yet low in fat and cholesterol free
- Contains dietary fiber and antioxidants, in addition to small portions of minerals and vitamins
When it's in Season:
Planted in early spring, and harvested after the first frost, Jerusalem artichokes often prefer cooler climates, although they can be produced in North Carolina.
How it's Harvested:
These tubers grow underneath the ground with a thick green growth above ground. Usually harvesting occurs once the growth above ground has wilted. Gently pull from the soil and separate the tuber from the leaves.
Scalloped Sunchokes - Scrub or peel artichokes. Slice each artichoke to 1/4 inch thick slices. In a wok or frying pan, heat olive oil and butter on medium-high heat. Add sliced artichokes, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley; stir well to coat artichokes. Stir-fry for about 4 minutes, stirring often. Do not overcook artichokes; they should be slightly crunchy.
Sunchoke Salad - Combine Jerusalem artichokes, arugula and Parmesan in a large bowl. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and toss to coat.