CROPSHARE #6: Jerusalem artichokes


Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes, or sunroots, are a variety of sunflowers grown for their edible tubers. They grow into tall yellow flowers, just like sunflowers. They are native to North America, and were brought to Europe by the French explorers. It’s a perennial plant, which means it will keep coming back year after year, if tubers are left in the ground. They are in season in the UK from November through to early spring.


Jerusalem artichokes look a bit like ginger root but in cooking they are used just as potatoes. They have a slightly sweet flavour and are quite mushy when cooked. This is why they work great in a soup. In fact, they were voted ‘best soup vegetable’ in 2002 in French heritage cuisine. They are also wonderful roasted- just scrub of the dirt, slice them in half or quarters and roast them in the oven with a bit of oil. They can also be eaten raw.


Jerusalem artichokes have hight contents of dietary fibre in a form of inulin which passes through a digestive tract into the colon where it is broken by the bacteria there. This is the reason why they may cause from mild to severe flatulence. It’s best to start with small quantities and see how it affects your body.


Unlike other tubers or root vegetables, Jerusalem artichokes don’t keep well, and if kept on the counter might shrivel in less than a week. It is best to keep them in the fridge.


Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 40 minutes, Serves: 4


Ingredients:

· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

· 1 onion, peeled and chopped

· 2 cloves garlic, crushed

· 2 celery stalks, chopped

· 900g (2 lbs) Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and sliced

· 900ml (1½ pints) vegetable stock

· 60ml (2 fl oz) cream (optional – we didn’t use any)

· 30g parsley, washed and chopped for decoration

· Salt and black pepper to taste


Instructions:

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan; add the onion and garlic and gently sauté.

2. When the onion has softened after about 5 minutes, add the celery and the Jerusalem artichokes and stock and stir well.

3. Bring the contents to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 35 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

4. Blend the soup using hand blender.

5. Add the cream (optional), season to taste and sprinkle with parsley.


The recipe was shared by Women Connect First and their project Wales World Cafe. The café aims to develop a community space where people come together and socialise in a friendly atmosphere to enjoy free freshly cooked authentic meal once a week.

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