Lifestyle

Jerusalem Artichokes: The Chef’s Potato

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Plant Jerusalem Artichokes in your flower beds, your garden or in a separate plot, reserved for them, and reap the harvest. If you like potatoes, you will like Jerusalem Artichokes. The washed tubers can be roasted on a grill, in the oven, jacketed or peeled, mashed with butter, a flavored olive oil, or cream cheese. They can be enjoyed raw in salads or even as hors d’oeuvres,  served with a smoky, thyme dipping sauce rich in crumbled up bacon. After roasting on the grill, chop them up and mix with either chopped, roasted chilis or some magnificent chipotles.

Jerusalem Artichoke

Photo: Warfield Originals/Donna Warfield Smith

Their flavor is kind of sweet, which gets your salivary glands working, combined with an earthy taste similar to some mushrooms. Once you have tasted them, your culinary skills can come into play, and there is no limit as to what you can do with these beautiful tubers. If you are cooking in a skillet, add some wine along with your choice of spices and simmer until tender. These are especially good with fish, lamb, and in pasta salads.

Jerusalem Artichokes

Photo: Facebook/Ducks Nuts Bar and Grill

Even more important these wonderful tubers are high in potassium, iron, and protein, as well as other vitamins. Jerusalem Artichokes are known to block cancer cells contributory to colon cancer, due to the inulin and high fiber content, and they help lower blood pressure and high cholesterol. Also, Jerusalem Artichokes may help prevent type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease, according to a 2014 article posted by BottomLineInc.

Jerusalem Artichokes

Photo: Flickr/Alpha

Native Americans called Jerusalem Artichokes “Sun Roots” and consumed them as a staple in their diets. They are especially well-loved in French cuisine having been taken to France by Samuel de Champlain in the 16th century. In New York, as well as other larger cities, they are on menus in various recipes.

Jerusalem Arrichokes
Photo: Flickr/reignition2

If you choose to grow this flower/vegetable, then be prepared for bumper crops. This variety of sunflower can be invasive and spreads very easily. They are beautiful, though. There are clusters of flowers growing up the stalks and particularly at the top. The longer the growing season, the larger the tubers will be for harvesting. They can grow up to ten feet tall, and a unique feature about these flowers is that they rotate throughout the day following the sun. The flower heads have yellow petals with a yellow or dark yellow center. When you dig the tubers, always leave the smaller ones in the ground for next year’s crop.

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