BY NICK MACMAHON | 12 MARCH 2019
Neither from Jerusalem nor an artichoke. The Jerusalem artichoke is the edible tuber from a type of sunflower.
A tuber is an enlarged root of a plant, usually used as nutrient storage used to survive over winter. Other tubers include; potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams.
The flavour of a cooked Jerusalem artichoke is nutty, earthy and sweet. Similar to a parsnip and with the texture of a waxy, new potato. Cook them as you would with other root vegetables. No need to peel them, just make sure there is no dirt on the skin. A quick simmer in water until tender and then into the oven to get brown and crispy.
The combination of savoury and sweet flavours of the Jerusalem artichokes lends itself very well to other earthy foods. Think to pair with things like lemon, garlic, thyme, rosemary, mushrooms, wild game or lamb.
A word of warning though. They do have an unfortunate nickname of ‘Fartichokes’ which is all too accurate. These tubers have high levels of a carbohydrate called ‘inulin’, which bacteria in the intestine love to consume. This means, eating too much Jerusalem artichoke can cause a lot of unwanted flatulence. I and others have attempted various suggestions to prevent this from occurring but alas, none have been successful. This shouldn’t stop you eating them though, they are absolutely delicious. Just don’t cook them on a first date.
Like other root vegetables, the Jerusalem artichoke lends itself well to pickling and fermenting. Some say the pickling process helps to"deflate" the after-effects. Will report back with results when that theory has been tested. (EDIT: See Fermented Jerusalem Artichokes)
October to April