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Sunchokes: What They Are and How To Use Them

sunchokes
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Buntysmum

Sunchokes are tuber roots with a thin brown skin and white insides. They taste similar to potatoes but are slightly nuttier and sweeter. Learn how to cook them here.

The edible part of the sunchoke plant is the root, which grows underground. The part of the plant you can see above ground looks like a yellow sunflower. The skin of the sunchoke is light brown and the shape is similar to that of ginger – but larger.

Sunchokes are white inside and have a mild, nutty, sweet taste and crunchy texture. They grow across the US from fall to spring and can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Sunchokes are sometimes referred to as “Jerusalem artichokes,” but they have nothing to do with either Jerusalem or artichokes. Early Italian travelers believed the taste was similar to artichokes and that they looked like sunflowers (“girasole” in Italian), hence the name. They can be found in the vegetable aisle of the supermarket.

In this article, we’ll show you how to cook this tasty vegetable.

Nutritional Benefits of Sunchokes

Full of fiber and low in carbohydrates, sunchokes are packed with nutritional value. They are high in protein, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, amino acids and inulin. Inulin is good for the gut, as it can’t be digested and remains in the bowels, encouraging the growth of friendly bacteria. Be careful not to eat too much of it, as the inulin can cause stomach problems and gas.

Sunchokes provide a range of health benefits such as blocking the growth of cancerous cells in the colon, reducing cholesterol, regulating bowel movements, reducing heart disease and lowering blood pressure.

They are very versatile and can be roasted, boiled, mashed, fried, steamed, eaten raw or even made into a soup. Furthermore, sunchokes work in recipes that normally contain potatoes and are a healthier alternative. Keep reading to find out how to use sunchokes.

Roasted Sunchokes Recipe

Sunchokes can be roasted, mashed or eaten raw.
Sunchokes can be roasted, mashed or eaten raw. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / ivabalk)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sunchokes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Wash and scrub the sunchokes and chop them into slices about half an inch thick.
  2. Put the salt, pepper and olive oil in a bowl and add the chopped sunchokes. Coat the sunchokes in the oil and spread them on a baking tray.
  3. Roast at 425°F for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. They will be crispy on the outside and soft in the middle when ready — test by pressing with a fork.
  4. Toss the sunchokes in the fresh thyme before serving.

Mashed Sunchokes Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1lb sunchokes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • Knob vegan butter

Instructions:

  1. Wash and scrub the sunchokes well and chop them into roughly one-inch pieces.
  2. Put them in a large pan and cover with water. Add salt and bring to boil over medium heat. Simmer for about half an hour until the sunchokes are soft — check by pressing with a fork.
  3. Drain the water and mash the sunchokes using a potato masher. Beat in the milk and vegan butter until smooth. Serve.

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