Weekly Seasonal Recipe: Sunchokes

Sunchokes on the left, parsnips on the right

SUNCHOKES

The sunchoke is a funny, nubby, little tuber that also goes by the name of Jerusalem artichoke.  But don’t let its name deceive you: it has much more in common with a potato than an artichoke.  By sight alone, sunchokes could easily be confused with fresh ginger with their finger-like shape, thin, light brown skin and moist, yellow flesh.  One cup of raw sunchokes is an excellent source of iron and thiamin (a B vitamin that turns carbohydrates into energy).  In addition, sunchokes are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, niacin, copper, phosphorus and dietary fiber.  Lots of vitamins and minerals in these little tubers!

GROW

While they look like small potatoes, sunchokes are actually a variety of perennial sunflowers.  They should be planted at the end of winter, a few weeks before the last frost.  It’s very easy to grow sunchokes—in fact, almost too easy!  Tubers spread rapidly and can quickly take over a garden if not contained by barriers or completely uprooted at the end of the season.  Sunchoke plants grow to be 5-10 feet tall with beautiful yellow flowers, and sprout many tubers per plant.  The tubers will be ready to harvest 4-5 months after planting.  Kids and adults love to harvest them; “it’s like digging for gold.”

EAT

Roasted, sunchokes are quite starchy and sweet, like a parsnip, and they have a similar texture to a potato when cooked.  Raw, they are crunchy, like a water chestnut, and they have a flavor reminiscent of artichokes, despite not having any biological connection.    Sunchokes make great additions to stir fries, or as a substitute for any root vegetable or potato.

At the Barn, we slice them raw and add them to our super salad bar as a yummy topping; and we also toss them in olive oil, sea salt and a little pepper and roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until fork tender.

How do you use sunchokes?

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2017-05-06T17:01:11+00:00 December 3rd, 2012|Weekly Seasonal Recipe|