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Recipe for Potato and Jerusalem Artichoke Latkes

| 10/23/2012 4:03:33 PM

Last week I had a hankering for latkes, which, as everyone knows, are traditional pre-Halloween food. The good thing about hankering after latkes in mid-October is that the ground hasn’t frozen yet, so it is still possible to dig up some of the feral Jerusalem artichokes that grow along the fence that protects our strawberry beds from Maisie.

The other traditional time for latkes is during Hanukah, which very inconveniently occurs after the Jerusalem artichokes are frozen solidly into the ground. J.A.s don’t store spectacularly well, but every year I try to coddle along enough of them to enliven our Thanksgiving mashed potatoes and our Hanukah latkes.

Jerusalem Artichokes 

A few years ago I read the astonishing news that potatoes are a very high glycemic food. The glycemic index compares the impact of various foods on human volunteers’ blood sugar levels. Pure glucose is 100 on the scale. Foods that score below 55 are considered low glycemic; foods between 56-69 are considered medium; and a score above 70 is considered high glycemic. I have been a natural foods eater my entire life, so imagine my horror when I read that the glycemic index number for boiled potatoes can be as high as 103, while the glycemic index number for a Snicker’s bar is 43. I am not planning to convert to an all-Snicker’s diet any time soon, but I did want to figure out what I could do to soften the impact of eating my own homegrown potatoes.

Luckily, there are a few things one can do to reduce the potatoey impact:

Eat potatoes with some kind of fat. Fat slows the digestion and allows the starches from the potato to be released more slowly into the system. This slower pace helps prevent blood sugar levels from spiking and then plummeting, which is not good for your pancreas if you are not a diabetic, and disastrous if you are. I find it interesting that potatoes are so often eaten with gobs of butter or sour cream. Coincidence?

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