Try these Jerusalem Artichoke Recipes, the artichoke can be used raw, boiled or baked to make a delicious side vegetable dish.
Jerusalem artichokes have about the same food value as the more common Irish potato (another misnamed food) . . . but with a very important difference: Their starch — especially early in the season — is largely in the form of insulin, instead of carbohydrate. This makes the knobby tubers an especially valuable addition to the diet of diabetics and people who want to eat "rich" but low-calorie dishes. The tubers are also easily digested and have been a recommended food for invalids.
Rinse as much dirt as possible from your warty little "potatoes", and then scrub them vigorously with a vegetable brush (break away the tubers' knobs, as necessary, so you can get at all the soil). Your Jerusalem artichokes are now ready to use in almost any way that white potatoes are used. Always bear in mind, however, that either high temperatures or overcooking can toughen these tubers more than you'll probably like. So cook them gently, gently.
Jerusalem artichokes are delicious raw (crisp, with a sweet and nutty taste), and the late Euell Gibbons liked to peel and slice them that way into a tossed salad. "I find," he said, "that they combine very well with watercress and thinly sliced cloves of wild leek, all served with a French dressing." I also like to serve the raw tubers as a side dish on a buffet table. Just scrape off the skins with a paring knife and, if it will still be some time before you serve the chokes, drop them into acid water (1/2 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice in 2 cups of water) to keep them from darkening.
Another wild food expert, Bradford Angier, has stated that Jerusalem artichokes also make "memorable" salads when prepared another way. "Boil them first," he recommends, "then mix 4 cups with 1 finely diced small onion, 1 cup chopped celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a sliced cucumber, and a cup of mayonnaise. Stir together lightly, lifting from the outside in, season, and serve cold."
For a quickie "fill me up" addition to an on-the-run meal, you might try frying thin slices of the tubers for eight to 10 minutes in bacon drippings. They'll look a lot like fried potatoes . . . but they'll have a sweeter taste all their own and they won't be crisp. A somewhat similar — but I think better — approach is to slice the tubers, rub the pieces with oil, spread them out on a cookie sheet, and bake them in an oven. Remember, though, that they'll cook faster than potatoes.
Other ideas: When oven-frying chicken or baking a roast, lay a ring of the cleaned and peeled tubers around the meat and let them cook in the juices. Or dump a handful or two of the chokes (whole or cut into chunks) into a stew 15 minutes to a half hour before it's served. Or boil some of the tubers until they're soft, mash them, and then mix with fine bread crumbs, beaten eggs, melted butter, salt, and pepper . . . and bake yourself a casserole.
Cooked and mashed chokes can also add both nutrition and interest to yeast breads and spice cakes. (Whirl the tubers — skin and all — into a smooth consistency with a blender and then dump 'em into the batter.)
Jerusalem artichokes are an absolutely superior taste treat, too, when boiled a few minutes and then pickled in a more-or-less standard solution of vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices (try any of your grandmother's or great-aunt's favorite pickling recipes).
Or, for a common dish with an unusual byproduct, cut some chokes into uniform chunks, half cover them with salted water, and simmer until the pieces are just tender (5 to 10 minutes). Serve the tubers with butter, salt, and pepper. And save the cooking liquid! When it cools, it will jell . . . and can be used as a tasty and nourishing stock for soups, sauces, and breads.
It's even possible to substitute cooked and mashed Jerusalem artichokes for pumpkin in a chiffon pie. Try it! Guests who don't ordinarily care for pumpkin pie will beg for more. And the next time a member of the family loses a bout with the flu, peel and dice a pound of the chokes, cover with milk and simmer just below boiling for 10 minutes. Then mix in a couple of tablespoons of ground parsley, season to taste, sprinkle with paprika, and serve hot. This soup goes down without much trouble, is easily digested, and can make tomorrow look a lot more inviting.
Finally, when you find yourself with more dug chokes on your hands than you know what to do with, you can freeze the surplus. Boil the whole or chunked tubers until they're barely fork-tender, then drain, and spread out to freeze individually on cookie sheets. Store in plastic bags or containers. Thaw as needed by warming over low heat in a small amount of water.
Read more about Jerusalem artichokes: Jerusalem Artichokes: The Gourmet Sunflower.
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