What is it?
The Jerusalem artichoke originated in North America and actually has no real connection with the Holy Land, or with the artichoke family for that matter! In fact, the Jerusalem artichoke is a species of sunflower and it is thought that the ‘Jerusalem’ part of the name came from the Italian for sunflower or girasole.
These hardly little knobbly roots have a distinctive nutty, earth and slightly sweet flavour. In addition to being pretty delicious, Jerusalem artichokes are also very beneficial to the health of your gut thanks to their content of the prebiotic fibre, inulin. Consumption of this wonderful fibre can also have the rather unappealing side effects of bloating and flatulence – so perhaps avoid eating an enormous quantity of Jerusalem artichokes in one go!
What to do with it?
Like potatoes or parsnips, the Jerusalem artichoke can be eaten with or without the skin and cooked in much the same way. Try them sautéed with olive oil, garlic and bay leaves. Roast them in the oven with mushrooms, lemon and thyme. Whizz them up into a deliciously smooth and velvety soup. Boil and mash them together with potatoes to give your mash another dimension!
When is it in season?
October – March.