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jerusalem artichoke

 

Synonyms: sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple, topinambur

botanical name: Helianthus tuberosus


Topinambur

 

The home of the Jerusalem artichoke is probably South or North America, where it was valued by the Indians as a vegetable. At the beginning of the 17th century, sailors brought the tuber to France, where it was cultivated on a large scale. From there it spread to wide regions of Europe.

Today the Jerusalem artichoke is still grown in North America, but also in Asia, Australia, and to a lesser extent in Europe, chiefly in southern France and the Netherlands. In Germany it is grown as well on a small scale.


Availability


The Jerusalem artichoke is not of any great importance commercially. The small demand is supplied mainly by the domestic harvest, which takes place between October and May.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


The plant of the Jerusalem artichoke is about 2 m high and resembles a sunflower to some extent. However, it is the tubers that are used; like potatoes, they form under the plant.

The tubers are irregularly shaped and may look like pears or apples or knobby and oval, or may resemble fresh rhizomes of ginger.

A thin, yellow-brown to violet skin covers the firm, somewhat lighter pulp of the Jerusalem artichoke, which can be whitish, yellow, brown, or red to violet, according to the variety.

The raw tuber tastes earthy and slightly sweet; cooked, the roots taste nutty, sweet and almost like cooked artichokes.


Ingredients


100 g contain:

Jerusalem artichoke,
fresh
Energie (kcal)
31
Wasser (g)
79
Eiweiß (g)
2
Fett (g)
< 1
Kohlenhydrate (g)
4
Ballaststoffe (g)
13
Vitamin A (RÄ) (µg)
2
Vitamin E (mg)
0,2
Vitamin B1 (mg)
0,2
Vitamin B2 (mg)
0,1
Niacin (mg)
2
Vitamin B6 (mg)
0,1
Folsäure (µg)
35
Vitamin C (mg)
4
Kalium (mg)
478
Natrium (mg)
3
Calcium (mg)
10
Magnesium (mg)
20
Phosphor (mg)
78
Eisen (mg)
3,7



Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions


The tubers of the Jerusalem artichoke are hardy and can stand temperatures to minus 15°C. If you have planted a Jerusalem artichoke yourself, you can leave the tubers under the ground in the winter and dig them out as you need them.

Otherwise, they should be stored in a cool, dark place, like potatoes. They dry out easily, so it is best to put them in the refrigerator, wrapped in a moist cloth or in a plastic bag. In this way they will keep for several days.

Withered tubers recover somewhat when they are laid in cold water.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


The tubers should be carefully cleaned under running water using a vegetable brush. The skin can be eaten, according to taste. Jerusalem artichokes are eaten raw in salads, but they can also be braised, fried or gratinéed.

Only a small amount of water should be used to cook them, as the tubers will otherwise be leached and tasteless. Braised, the tubers make a good vegetable side dish, or they can be puréed. In this case they mix well with mashed potatoes.

The tubers can be rinsed in cold water after braising and then peeled. Thick slices are good when they are breaded after being cooked and deep-fried.

The Jerusalem artichoke is used industrially to produce alcohol and fructose.

 

 

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