A small root with a big flavour
Jerusalem artichoke is fat-free, gluten-free and highly versatile. But despite all the positives, the small root is a rare guest in European kitchens. High time for a change!
Although this root has all kinds of culinary tricks up its sleeve, many people have never even heard of Jerusalem artichokes. Despite the misleading name, it’s not actually a type of artichoke at all. Other terms include sunroot, earth apple or topinambour. First cultivated by the indigenous people of North and Central America, the plant’s tubers were widely eaten across Europe in the 17th century. The name “topinambour” originates from a Brazilian tribe known as “Tupinambá”. One tribe member happened to be visiting the Vatican when the new plant was on display, resulting in the edible tubers being named after the tribe.
The bizarrely shaped tubers grow at the roots of a sunflower species. The skin is a browny-purple while the flesh has a creamy colour. Their knobbly shape makes tubers difficult to peel, but luckily they can be eaten raw and unpeeled.
A unique appearance, a unique taste
Jerusalem artichoke not only looks unusual, it has a unique flavour. When eaten raw it’s similar to the traditional globe artichoke, but when boiled it gains a slightly nutty essence, and when cooked it tastes sweet.
However, it’s not just the taste that makes these tubers special. Unlike starchy potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke contains the soluble fibre inulin making it a great alternative for Diabetics.
Unfortunately the tubers’ thin skins means they have a shorter shelf life than potatoes. As they only last a few days in a fridge, Jerusalem artichoke is often made into flour or juice instead.
Our tip: keep tubers from turning brown after they’ve been cut open by brushing them with lemon juice.
Feel like a change? Jerusalem artichoke is just the job. Buon appetito!