There are so many different types of fruits and vegetables out there – things you’ll rarely (if ever) see in the generic produce section in the supermarket. I’m always on the look out for new types of produce at the grocery store or our local farmer’s market. Something I’ve never tried before, a crazy color variation or an heirloom variety. I usually have the best luck at farmer’s markets – as some of the growers and farmers try to hard to bring unique things to the table. For example, last weekend our farmer’s market was selling fresh ginger and turmeric. Things I’ve never, ever seen before. And giant heads of bright green romanesco! Now that’s a crazy looking vegetable right there! Instead of indulging in the fresh ginger (which honestly, I wouldn’t know what to do with) I went with a pound of beautiful purple Jerusalem Artichokes (or sun chokes). I’ve actually seen them in my local grocery store and they’ve been a steady attendant at the market for the past month or so. Plus, the farmer mentioned they were great roasted and were super simple to cook.
In my sunchoke recipe research, I did discover a whole lot of interesting tidbits about these small tubers. Like they have no relation to Jerusalem…at all. They are the root of a sunflower plant that’s actually native to North America – not the Middle East. Supposedly an explorer named Samuel de Champlain first encountered sunchokes from the American Indians in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 1605. He thought they tasted like artichokes and thus named them as such. These purple, red or brown roots can be eaten raw or cooked and have a sweeter taste than the generic potato – due to the high about of inulin. And they are also high in iron, potassium and thiamine.
- Sunchokes have been described to have a slightly sweeter and nuttier taste compared to potatoes – but still very mild.
- Although they may seem very similar to potatoes, sunchokes cook much faster than potatoes and get mushy quick! So keep an eye on them and poke them with a fork or knife frequently.
- Like many types of produce, once cut and exposed to oxygen, the flesh of the sunchokes will darken and turn gray. Dip them in lemon water to prevent this.
- Make sure to wash or scrub the outside of the tuber before cooking. The skin is fairly thin and can be eaten – like a potato!
- They are a great substitute for potatoes, parsnips or turnips as they are similar in texture.
- They do well with most cooking techniques, such as frying, baking, roasting, boiling or mashed!
So far, my favorite way to eat these newly discovered tuber is….roasted! Surprise! But really, it’s great. Such an interesting and exciting new flavor. I posted my recipe down below, but have also included a few other recipes I came across that look great too!
Crispy Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes:
- 1 lb jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed clean
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 fresh black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 425F.
- Slice your sunchokes in half or in quarters so they are all about 1/2″ in their thickest part.
- Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
- Turn off oven and heat broiler to high. Broil sunchokes, cut side up, for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the edges. Serve immediately.
Other Sunchoke Recipes: