Jerusalem Artichoke: What it is, Properties, Benefits

Jerusalem Artichoke

In the past, Jerusalem artichoke was used as a substitute for potatoes. Including it in your diet is a healthy habit because it is a tuber rich in benefits and low in calories.

This tuber is rich in inulin. It is a type of sugar often present as a reserve in the roots; it is made up of fructose, a carbohydrate well tolerated by diabetics and capable of reducing cholesterol, promoting the synthesis of some minerals and vitamins.

It is very versatile in the kitchen and lends itself to numerous recipes, from appetizers to first courses, but also to second courses and side dishes. You can eat it cooked or raw, sliced ​​thinly like a carpaccio or simply sautéed in a pan.

If raw, it is best to slice it very thin and season it with extra virgin olive oil and lemon to enhance its flavour. However, if cooked, steaming is preferable to preserve the nutrients.

It is also found on the market in the form of flour. In the kitchen, Jerusalem artichoke flour, to be added to other flours for the preparation of bread, pizza and desserts (the proportion is 10%), gives more flavor to recipes.

What is Jerusalem Artichoke

Also called German turnip, Jerusalem artichoke, Canadian sunflower, bastard truffle or tuberous sunflower, it is vegetable also grown as fodder.

On the market stalls, the Jerusalem artichoke is present from autumn to early spring. There are two varieties of this food: the burgundy Jerusalem artichoke, which is available from October to April, and the white Jerusalem artichoke, present on the market from the end of August.

This irregularly shaped tuber originates from the root part (rhizome) of an ornamental plant with beautiful yellow flowers, the Helianthus tuberosus L., and belonging to the Asteraceae or Compositae family, basically a cousin of the sunflower. The tubercle, the part of the Jerusalem artichoke that is consumed, weighs on average from 50 to 100 g.

Its pulp, white or yellow, is easily cooked, a bit like the potato (but it does not contain starch). Instead, its sweetish flavor is similar to that of the artichoke.

Calories and Nutritional Properties

Source of sugars, mineral salts and dietary fiber, Jerusalem artichoke is a digestive and tonic tuber. It does not contain glucose but fructose, a water-soluble monosaccharide sugar.

With 73 Kcal per 100 g it is also an ideal food if you are on a diet, low in fat and with a moderate presence of sugars.

Again thanks to inulin, a substance defined as prebiotic, consuming this tuber can help you rebalance your intestine, promoting the growth of bacteria useful for solving constipation problems, but also reducing the formation of intestinal gasVitamins A, B, C and E are also present.

It has digestive properties, stimulates the production of gastric juices and increases lactobacilli. It is protective for the liver and is an intestinal disinfectant, particularly useful in cases of inflammation, stress and tiredness.

It does not contain gluten and, for this reason, can be consumed by those suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The use of this tuber in the form of flour in the kitchen is interesting.

And again, Jerusalem artichoke is a true natural mine of potassium (429 mg/100 g) which represents the mineral most present in human cells and which performs essential functions such as the transmission of nerve impulses, the control of muscle contractions and blood pressure. Not only that, it also allows for proper stomach acid secretion and helps regulate blood pH.

Jerusalem artichoke contains more potassium than banana and is also rich in other minerals essential for the health of the body, especially magnesiumphosphorusiron and zinc.

Nutritional values ​​per 100 g

MINERAL SALTS  
Iron (mg) 3,4
Calcium (mg) 14
Sodium (mg) 4
Potassium (mg) 429
Phosphorus (mg) 78
Zinc (mg) 0.12
Magnesium (mg) 17
Copper (mg) 0.14
Selenium (µg) 0.7
Manganese (mg) 0.06
   
WATER SOLUBLE VITAMINS  
Vitamin B1, Thiamine (mg) 0.2
Vitamin B2, Riboflavin (mg) 0.06
Vitamin C (mg) 4
Niacin (mg) 1.3
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.08
Total Folate (µg) 13
Pantothenic Acid (mg) 0.4
   
FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS  
(Vit.A) ß-carotene eq., µg 12
Vitamin E (ATE), mg 0.19
Vitamin K, µg 0.1

Benefits of Jerusalem artichoke

  • Lowers cholesterol.Jerusalem artichoke, thanks to inulin, a dietary fiber, has the ability to reduce the intestinal absorption of bad cholesterol (LDL) and sugars. It is therefore useful both for preventing cardiovascular diseases and for those suffering from high blood sugar or diabetes.
  • It gives a sense of satiety.Again thanks to inulin, it gives a sense of satiety that lasts over time. An indispensable ally during slimming diets and weight control. In particular, if combined with lots of water, it helps to regulate the intestine and deflate the belly. It is also diuretic and combats water retention and cellulite, thanks to its low sodium content (4 mg).
  • Stimulates the immune system. It contains arginine, an amino acid that acts on the activity of the intestinal lymphoid system and, consequently, stimulates the immune system.
  • Against constipation.It is a food rich in dietary fiber (2.7 per 100 g) of which 0.66 per 100 g of soluble fiber and 2.01 of insoluble fiber. Dietary fibers are an inexhaustible source of health: they promote digestion and the correct functioning of the intestine, as well as helping to regulate the presence of sugars and cholesterol in the blood.

How to cook and clean Jerusalem artichoke

Fresh Jerusalem artichokes can be eaten both raw and cooked. As with artichokes, after cutting it, immerse it in acidulated water (water and lemon), to prevent it from blackening.

To use it raw in recipes it must be sliced ​​very thinly and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and lemon. If you prefer cooked, baking or steaming is preferable to preserve the nutrients. In both cases it is not necessary to peel it because the skin is digestible: just brush it well under water before cooking it.

In typical Piedmontese cuisine, Jerusalem artichoke is used raw and with the peel, in the mixture of vegetables that accompanies bagna cauda, ​​or together with fondue.

Jerusalem artichoke is delicious steamed, pureed, au gratin with seasonal vegetables, such as cauliflower, or to flavor an omelette. But also simply sautéed in a pan for a simple and genuine dish to accompany a light second course.

Fresh Jerusalem artichokes can be eaten both raw and cooked.

How to clean it?

Cleaning the Jerusalem artichoke tuber is not trivial . It is often small in size and characterized by superficial lumps and an irregular shape that make it difficult to handle.

First you need to wear a pair of gloves to prevent the blackening due to the oxidation of the Jerusalem artichoke pulp in contact with the air from staining your hands.

Then, the tuber should be brushed vigorously and quickly under fresh running water, eliminating any parts of the peel that are too hard. It is not necessary to remove all the peel. This, in fact, is usually thin, edible and digestible.

If you want to completely remove the peel, it must first be blanched for a few minutes in water to facilitate its separation from the pulp.

Once cleaned, the tuber, whole or cut, should be immersed in a bowl containing water acidulated with the juice of a lemon.

Cooking methods

Cut into cubes; boil it for 10 minutes in boiling water. To stew it in a little liquid, it takes 15-20 minutes. Cut into thin slices, it cooks in 15 minutes in the pan or wok.

If you have problems digesting it, try cooking it with a potato, whose starch limits the effect of inulin, responsible for this type of disorder. By adding a little bicarbonate to the Jerusalem artichoke cooking water (1/2 teaspoon per 2 liters of water), you limit the risk of flatulence.

How to choose and store it

When you buy Jerusalem artichoke, make sure it has a firm consistency, synonymous with freshness. Discard any tubers that look wrinkled or bruised, choosing those with shiny skin instead.

Unlike potatoesJerusalem artichokes are not easy to preserve. It has thin skin and, therefore, tends to wrinkle quickly and lose freshness. You can keep it in the fridge for a few days in the fruit compartment, inside a food bag, up to a maximum of a week.

Side Effects

If eaten in large quantities, Jerusalem artichoke, due to the inulin, can bother those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or meteorism, causing flatulence and diarrhea. The advice is to introduce it into your diet in small quantities and, if you don’t experience any discomfort, you can consume it even 2 or 3 times a week.

It should be remembered that some rare cases of inulin allergies have been reported. This allergic reaction can result in hives or breathing problems.

Sources

  1. USDA: United States Department of Agriculture.
  2. Human Health Benefits through Daily Consumption of Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.) Tubers.

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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