Tiny Mighty Tuber—the Sunchoke

Share this post

By Heidi Lewis

The sunchoke has more aliases than the World Wrestling Federation’s roster of “Tanks,” “Crashes,” and “Hulks.” It has been called “sunroot” and “earth apple,” but its other most common moniker is “Jerusalem artichoke.” It has nothing to do with Jerusalem, as this vegetable is an American native, but rather the mispronunciation of girasole (Italian for sunflower). It has nothing to do with artichokes either: legend has it that French explorer Samuel de Champlain found Native Americans cultivating this root veggie in the 1600s, and his European colleagues thought it tasted like artichokes.

The sunchoke plant (Helianthus tuberosus) grows an average of 5–10 feet tall and resembles a sunflower (it’s a member of the same genus). Sunchoke tubers are somewhat reminiscent of ginger root in appearance, and tend to be 3 or 4 inches long and an inch or 2 thick. They are sometimes a stand-in for potatoes, as their texture is similar, but they can also be eaten raw and have a nutty, slightly sweet flavor.

One special feature of the sunchoke is inulin (not insulin). Inulin is a naturally occurring simple sugar that the plant stores, like starch—but it’s not starch. Normal digestion does not break inulin down into monosaccharides that elevate blood sugar, so it may be helpful in the management of diabetes. Almost 19 million Americans have diabetes, so there’s a chance someone you know will appreciate a sunchoke gratin.

 

Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required

 

Recent Food articles:

Two Easy Recipes for Canning Stone Fruit
June 25, 2019
The health benefits of honeydew melon
June 20, 2019
The delicate flavors of white peaches and nectarines
June 13, 2019
Onions, garlic, and leeks provide many nutritional benefits
May 30, 2019
History of the tomato
April 18, 2019
How to prepare Ataulfo mango
April 4, 2019
Making the most of citrus season
February 14, 2019
Three hearty soup recipes you can enjoy all month
February 4, 2019
Tempting winter fruits to brighten your weekly mix
January 31, 2019
Easy meal prep recipes you can eat all week
January 7, 2019

More recent articles:

Summer muffin recipe
July 18, 2019
Assumptions can harm both recruiters and job seekers
July 16, 2019
Simple summer salad dressing recipes
July 11, 2019
Summer fruit varieties and when you’ll be seeing them
July 9, 2019
Easy summer pasta recipe
July 4, 2019
How to create a dress code that works all year
July 2, 2019
More employers are getting serious about time off
June 27, 2019
Don’t let plantar fasciitis pain break your stride
June 11, 2019
How to make stone fruit jams and butters
June 6, 2019
Listen and learn something new about work life—wherever you are
June 4, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.