Jerusalem artichokes are a root vegetable. They are actually a type of sunflower root. Nutty, flavorful and healthy (high in calcium, potassium, B vitamins, and iron among numerous other nutrients), this vegetable has quickly become one of my favorites. We buy Jerusalem artichokes at our local farmer’s market, but I have seen them sold at grocery stores as well. Jerusalem artichokes look and taste nothing like the standard green artichoke. They are light brown and look more like a ginger root than anything else.
A word of caution- according to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions (2001), Jerusalem artichokes should be well-cooked, otherwise, she notes, they will cause “severe intestinal distress” (p. 385). I have reviewed several recipes for this vegetable and some recipes do eat recommend eating Jerusalem artichokes raw on salads and such, but I’d rather be safe than sorry since severe intestinal distress sounds like no picnic. We have never tried to eat them raw. We’ve always eat our Jerusalem artichokes well-cooked.
Although there are several ways to prepare Jerusalem artichokes, we prefer Fallon’s (2001) recommendation of peeling the root and then adding it to boiling water. We allow the artichokes to boil for ten minutes. Then add a splash of lemon juice and continue boiling for five more minutes. Finally, we drain the artichokes, slice and saute them in a bit of olive oil and butter and a dash of lemon juice, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes on medium heat (until the artichokes are slightly brown). The aroma while the artichokes are sauteing is amazing! The taste is wonderful. We often eat these as a side dish instead of a potato or rice dish.
Be sure to give them a try the next time you see them at your local farmer’s market or grocery store. They are delicious!
*This post is shared on Real Food Wednesday.