Fall is harvest time for the root vegetables that have been slowly growing underground all summer. Potatoes, carrots, and beets mirror the colors of fall.
A less well-known root vegetable that is becoming plentiful in markets now is the Jerusalem artichoke, also known as a sunchoke.
It’s a tuber – the root of a sunflower-like plant – and is native to North America.
It looks similar to ginger root, crunches like jicama if eaten raw, can be cooked similar to a potato, and has an artichoke flavor.
Sunchokes may cook like potatoes, but they are more nutritious. One cup of sliced sunchoke contains:
- 20% of your RDA of thiamin (also called vitamin B1), which is important for muscle and central nervous system function.
- 28% of your daily iron – higher than broccoli and some other green vegetables, to carry oxygen to your lungs.
- 18% of your daily potassium, which is necessary for proper nerve and muscle function.
One thing that separates sunchokes from other root vegetables, such as potatoes or parsnips, is that much of the carbohydrate content in them comes from inulin.
Inulin is not metabolized like other carbohydrates and it does not cause blood sugar to spike. This means it has a lower glycemic index than potatoes, making it a better choice for people with diabetes.
Sunchokes also function as a prebiotic, feeding the beneficial bacteria in your intestines
Sunchokes can be eaten raw in salads or slaws. They have crisp texture similar to jicama or radishes.
They are more flavorful, however, when cooked; this is when they develop an artichoke-like flavor. They can be prepared any of the ways you would make potatoes or parsnips – roasted, baked, boiled, stir-fried, mashed, or even made into hash browns or latkes.
Try sunchokes in one of our recipes below and you’ll fall for the flavor!
Shaved Sunchoke Salad with Parmesan and Arugula
Sunchoke-Kale Hash with Farro