These brown, gangly looking vegetables carry most of their nutrients just under their skin
Discover the multitude of options sunchokes can offer you and your cooking
I’d like to introduce you to some great recipes for sunchokes (Helianthus tuberosus), a vegetable many people have heard about but don’t know what to do with.
I regard the knobby tubers (often referred to as Jerusalem artichokes) as a blessing in winter through early spring, because the flavour is enhanced by hard frosts and they can be dug from the garden as needed. They multiply prolifically, and in these uncertain times I feel reassured by having such a good food source in the garden. Try some of these recipes yourself and discover the wonderful versatility of sunchokes.
Cleaning and Prepping Sunchokes
To clean sunchokes, simply scrub them with a vegetable brush. It’s best not to peel them, because most of the nutrients are contained just under the skin. They provide the best nutrition when eaten fresh, and you can enjoy the crunch of raw sunchokes added to salads, served with crudités and dips, or grated into coleslaw with carrots and cabbage.
Once cut, sunchokes discolour, so it’s best to cut them close to serving time or immerse them in cold water with lemon juice or vinegar to prevent oxidation. To store them, wrap the tubers in a plastic bag and place in the fridge, where they keep for up to two weeks.
Scrub and wash the sunchokes and put in cold salted water. Simmer until just tender for 10 minutes, and slice while still warm. Drizzle with olive oil, white wine vinegar or lemon juice, season with parsley, minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and allow to chill.
Kikuchi Family Salad
- 225 gr (½ lb.) sunchokes, cut into thin strips
- 1 small carrot, cut into thin strips
- 125 mL (½ cup) kale, stalks removed, cut into thin strips
- 15 mL (1 Tbsp.) miso
- 15 mL (1 Tbsp.) lemon juice
- 15 mL (1 Tbsp.) honey
- 5 mL (1 tsp.) sesame oil
- 15 mL (1 Tbsp.) raw hemp hearts
Toss the sunchoke, carrot and kale strips together. Whisk together the miso, lemon juice, honey and sesame oil, and coat the vegetables with the dressing. Serve with healthy hemp hearts sprinkled on top.
Toss whole cleaned sunchokes with extra-virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Place on a baking sheet, or in a garlic roaster, and bake at 375°F (190°C) for 30 minutes, turning to recoat with oil halfway through. The flavour becomes agreeably sweet and nutty. Serve them as you would roast potatoes.
Sunchoke and Potato Puree
Scrub sunchoke tubers and an equal amount of potatoes, and chop coarsely into same-sized chunks. Put the chunks into a steam basket over a saucepan filled with boiling water, cover and steam for about 10 minutes until soft. Mash as you would boiled potatoes, then season with parsley, freshly grated whole nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.