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Helena Husinec

Jerusalem artichoke

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Overview: Jerusalem artichokes, scientifically known as Helianthus tuberosus, are a species of sunflower native to North America. Despite their name, they are not actually artichokes, nor do they originate from Jerusalem. They are also commonly referred to as sunchokes or sunroot.

Appearance: Jerusalem artichokes are perennial plants that can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) tall. They have bright yellow flowers that resemble small sunflowers. The edible part of the plant is the tuber, which is knobby and irregularly shaped, similar in appearance to ginger or small potatoes.

Culinary Uses:

  • Jerusalem artichokes have a sweet, nutty flavor with a crunchy texture when raw. They become softer and sweeter when cooked.
  • They can be eaten raw in salads, sliced and added to stir-fries, or roasted as a side dish.
  • Jerusalem artichokes are also used to make soups, purees, and can be pickled.

Nutritional Value: Jerusalem artichokes are low in calories and a good source of various nutrients, including:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Health Benefits:

  • High in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes gut health.
  • Contains inulin, a type of soluble fiber that acts as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
  • Rich in potassium, which is essential for heart health and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
  • Contains antioxidants like vitamin C, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Growing Conditions:

  • Jerusalem artichokes are hardy and can be grown in a variety of climates, although they prefer full sun and well-drained soil.
  • They are typically planted from tubers in the spring and harvested in the fall after the first frost.
  • The plants can spread aggressively, so it's essential to plant them in a designated area or in containers to control their growth.


  • Jerusalem artichokes can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to several weeks.
  • Store them in a perforated plastic bag or a paper bag to maintain humidity and prevent sprouting.


  • Some individuals may experience gas or bloating after consuming Jerusalem artichokes due to their high inulin content.
  • People with diabetes should consume Jerusalem artichokes in moderation due to their natural sugars, which can affect blood sugar levels.

Fun Fact:

  • Jerusalem artichokes were a staple food for Native American tribes and were introduced to European settlers by Native Americans.

Jerusalem artichokes are a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can be enjoyed in a variety of culinary dishes, providing both flavor and health benefits.