This vegetable is not truly an artichoke, but a variety of sunflower with a lumpy, brown-skinned tuber that often resembles a ginger root. Contrary to what the name implies, this vegetable has nothing to do with Jerusalem, but is derived instead from the Italian word for sunflower, girasole.
Its white flesh is nutty, sweet and crunchy, and is a good source of iron. Jerusalem artichokes are also known as sunchokes.
Choose the best
Although Jerusalem artichokes are knobbly by nature, look for ones with fewer knobs to save waste when peeling.
Skins should be pale brown, without any dark or soft patches, and the artichokes should look firm and fresh, not soft or wrinkled.
The artichoke flesh will discolour if exposed to air, so place the peeled vegetable in a bowl of acidulated water (cold water with a sqeeze of lemon juice or a dash of white wine vinegar) until ready to cook. Because they are so knobbly, it's easier to peel artichokes after boiling.
Jerusalem artichokes are known for their flatulent side effects when eaten in large quantities.
If stored in a cool, dark place, they will keep well for up to 10 days.
Jerusalem artichokes can be cooked in much the same way as potatoes or parsnips, and are excellent roasted, sautéed, dipped in batter and fried, or puréed into a delicious soup.
You can blend them into a soup, like our Jerusalem artichoke & horseradish soup, or simply serve them finely sliced and fried, like in our buttered Jerusalem artichoke. They work well in creamy dishes, like a smoked haddock & Jerusalem artichoke gratin, or you can roast them in large chunks, like in Diana Henry's roast artichokes & leeks with creme fraiche, shaved gouda & hazelnuts – a lovely, light main or impressive dinner party starter.
Jerusalem artichokes are also traditionally served in a risotto with parmesan, wine and herbs.
Try salsify, parsnip or medium potato.