Eat Local! Sunchokes!

Sunchokes

Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, are probably a lesser known vegetable to many people. Their peak season runs from late fall to early spring. Despite its name, it is neither an artichoke nor has origins in Jerusalem. Part of the sunflower family, the sunchoke features a perennial plant with yellow flowers and edible tubers. Sunchokes were cultivated by Native Americans in the northeastern U.S. for centuries who used for the roots for edible dishes and in various healing remedies, including diabetes.

This knobby looking vegetable has a similar appearance to gingerroot, and has been described as having a nutty flavor and similar texture to potatoes. It can be boiled, roasted, baked, mashed or even eaten raw atop salads or as a crunchy snack – but beware, inulin (a non-digestible carbohydrate) found in sunchokes can cause gassiness in some folks if consumed raw. This low glycemic root vegetable is a good source of iron, potassium, magnesium, and fiber.

Check out this easy roasted sunchoke recipe from Cooking Light to get your taste buds wet:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds small sunchokes, scrubbed and halved lengthwise (skins edible)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 4 rosemary sprigs

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°.

Step 2: Combine sunchokes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Arrange sunchokes, cut side down, in pan; cook 5 minutes or until beginning to brown. Arrange garlic and rosemary evenly over sunchokes. Place pan in oven; roast at 375° for 42 minutes or until sunchokes are tender and deep golden. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

 

Article by Natalie Colla, CDE, RDN, LDN. Natalie is a dietitian specializing in diabetes education and care. She maintains a food and health blog at www.plantasticeating.com.

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