Jerusalem artichoke goes by many other names, including earth apple, Canada potato and sunchoke. It is the name given to a kind of sunflower. When talking about cooking Jerusalem artichoke people are usually referring to its edible tubers, which are used as a vegetable. These Jerusalem artichoke tubers enjoy widespread popularity, especially in Europe. It has a number of health benefits and has an interesting sweet and crunchy taste.
It may surprise you to know that it is not actually an artichoke. Even the first part of its name is deceptive as it is native to North America and is not associated with Jerusalem. This first part of the name is believed to have been a corruption of the term ‘girasole’ which is ‘sunflower’ in Italian. This is because the Jerusalem artichoke flower looks just like regular yellow sunflowers. Jerusalem artichoke leaves appear furred and rough.
Health Benefits of Jerusalem Artichoke
- Great for the gut: Jerusalem artichoke roots are a source of pre-biotics such as Fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Essentially, these are what certain friendly bacteria use as nutrients. These bacteria play a vital role in the development as well as functioning of a healthy immune system. It is one of the best food sources available of the fiber inulin, which helps colon function.
- Fighting obesity: The Jerusalem artichoke is a type of fermentable carbohydrate and a good source of dietary fibre. A lot of these foods, taken in moderation, are great for helping healthy bacteria to flourish and are beneficial for our intestinal lining. Despite its calories, the Jerusalem artichoke vitamins and nutrients, in particular thiamin and potassium in addition to iron; make it a popular health food.
- The best part about this tuber is that there is no fear of cholesterol and the amount of fat contained is negligible. It is thought that foods such as this tuber help with modulating metabolism and in ultimately fighting the global problem of obesity.
- Diabetic-friendly: Consumption of Jerusalem artichoke may result in greater sensitivity to insulin. Studies have shown how Jerusalem artichoke helps in the modulation of glucose metabolism but further studies are needed to look at additive effects and how it works. There have been studies done on efficient methods to use these tubers to produce insulin powder. This area of study is important given the growing threat diabetes poses as its incidence remains on the rise.
- Good for muscle function as well as bones. The potassium content is beneficial for muscle function and for its positive impact on bone health. Potassium appears to have an overall positive health impact. It is surprising to note that most adults fall short of the recommended 4,700 mg per day daily intake of potassium. The recommendation for women who are breast-feeding is higher, at 5100 mg per day. A 100 gm serving of these tubers offers 429 mg of that much needed potassium.
- Healthier heart: Eating Jersusalem artichokes has some benefit for the heart due to a combination of different factors which have been linked to lower risk for heart
problems, such as its high fibre and potassium.
Jerusalem Artichoke Recipes
Roast Jerusalem ArtichokeIngredients:
- 1 cup Jerusalem artichokes (peeled and sliced)
- 2 cups diced vegetables (like onions, green beans and bell peppers)
- Olive oil (3 tbsps.)
- Hot paprika
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius
- Coat the vegetables with the olive oil and salt by tossing in a bowl.
- Arrange everything on a baking sheet in a pan and roast for about 40 minutes, till done.
- Stir up the vegetables halfway through cooking time.
- Sprinkle with paprika before serving, for a delicious and healthy roast.
Sautéed Jerusalem Artichoke
- 500 g Jerusalem artichokes (peeled and sliced)
- Olive oil
- 1 tbsp. Garlic (minced)
- Fresh thyme (can be substituted with other herbs)
- A medium-high flame is to be used to heat the oil in a wok or non-stick pan.
- Sauté the garlic first and then toss in these tubers. Retain the crispiness by not overcooking them, bearing in mind that they should become tender and appear lightly browned. It would help to keep testing them after 5 minutes on the stove.
- Toss with herbs, nuts and seasoning before serving.