Jerusalem artichokes (called sunchokes in North America) are in season from May until September. Despite the name, they are not artichokes at all but a variety of sunflower with a lumpy tuber that resembles a ginger root. The white flesh is nutty, sweet and crunchy and is a good source of iron and thiamine.
Jerusalem artichokes make great soups, are good roasted whole and can be boiled for puree. When cut raw into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler, they make a crisp and refreshing salad. Drop the strips directly into a lemony vinaigrette as the flesh of jerusalem artichokes will discolour when exposed to air. If not cooking them straight away or dressing them raw, always keep in acidulated water until ready to cook.
When buying look for firm artichokes that are not too knobbly. They will be easier to peel. Unlike most starchy vegetables, the main storage carbohydrate here is inulin rather than starch, which is tolerated by diabetics. They can be kept for about a week in the fridge but do not wash them until you intend to use them. Despite being very easy to grow, they are not readily available in supermarkets. Look for them in gourmet food stores, greengrocers and at farmers’ markets. If you haven’t cooked with them before, you will quickly become a convert with these recipes.
Our pick of recipes using jerusalem artichoke