Among the wide variety of roots harvested during the fall season, there’s a bizarre and very unpopular vegetable named Jerusalem artichoke. However, people who know how to use Jerusalem artichoke to extract its benefits won’t miss this opportunity to take advantage of the Jerusalem artichoke season. What is special about this root? How do you cook it properly?
Benefits of Jerusalem artichoke
Jerusalem artichoke naturally occurs in South American countries, where it’s widely used in the kitchen by native Indian tribes. In spite of this, it’s still called “Jerusalem artichoke”, “artichoke” or “sunroot”. Each name is fairly reasonable.
Thanks to its nutritional value, Jerusalem artichoke can compete with popular vegetables like potatoes, which were also brought to us from across the ocean. Moreover, in contrast to potatoes, it isn’t spoiled during cultivation, it’s resistant to pests, and can be harvested for many years. But the main advantage of Jerusalem artichoke and potatoes is their content of vitamins and minerals.
The chemical composition of Jerusalem artichoke includes:
- protein and amino acids;
- dietary fiber, which helps the body digest plant fibers and perform detoxification and excretory functions. The amount in Jerusalem artichoke remains the same even after processing.
- minerals: silicon, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium;
- vitamins: most B vitamins (particularly vitamin B1) and vitamin C.
Regular consumption positively affects blood sugar levels by decreasing concentration, due to the maintenance of a specific substance: insulin. This makes the artichoke incredibly helpful in a diabetic diet, as well as for the prevention of metabolic disorders.
Eating a few tubers of Jerusalem artichoke a week can have a positive effect on our digestive processes. Many clinical studies have shown that it improves the functioning of our digestive organs:
- the same insulin binds and removes toxic substances from our blood into the intestine for digestion;
- insulin activates the activity of the gastrointestinal tract and gallbladder;
- the composition of Jerusalem artichoke has a positive impact on the state of the mucous membranes and blood circulation. Therefore it’s recommended for inflammatory and ulcerative conditions;
- Jerusalem artichoke also has anti-emetics and anti-nausea effects, can eliminate heartburn and bitter taste in the mouth, as well as reducing pain and bloating.
Scientific observations have shown that the Jerusalem artichoke also has an anti-edema effect (edema that is renal or cardiac in origin), according to researchers, thanks to the diuretic properties of its tuber.
As a source of antioxidants, artichoke neutralizes the negative effects of free radicals, allowing the body to actively resist pathogenic microflora.
Jerusalem artichoke also protects the body from pathogenic bacteria and parasitic infections. This applies both to the immune system in general and intestinal protection against giardia and opisthorchiasis, for example. Normal microflora in the gut is the key to maintaining a strong immune system, and artichoke can help with this.
What diseases is the Jerusalem artichoke particularly useful for?
- gastritis, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer,
- colitis, enteritis, enterocolitis,
- dyspepsia, diarrhea and constipation,
- intestinal worms,
- hypertension, coronary heart disease,
- kidney stones.
The benefits of artichoke hearts can be explained by their high content of potassium and silicon salts, which promotes absorption of calcium in the body. This leads to strong bones and teeth. Artichoke even provides the rare trace element selenium.
Jerusalem artichokes are advised for regular use in people who live in cities with a poor ecological environment, because they can help rid the body of heavy metals.
Jerusalem artichokes can also be used in cosmetology. Porridge paste made from their tubers can be used as a face mask, which can reduce small wrinkles, skin inflammation and irritation.
When is Jerusalem artichoke harmful?
Jerusalem artichoke belongs to a rare category of plant products, the only pronounced drawback of which is intolerance. Of course, Jerusalem artichoke is not recommended for very young children.
It should be administered at the end of a baby’s first year of life and in very small portions. If your child doesn’t develop an intolerance at this point, then Jerusalem artichoke is unlikely to harm them in subsequent years.
Jerusalem artichoke intolerance manifests itself as gut discomfort, bloating, flatulence and, rarely, skin rash. Something similar may occur in the case when Jerusalem artichokes are overly consumed. But excessive consumption of anything is never a good thing.
Eat Jerusalem artichokes in moderation. It’s also better to combine them with other vegetables and root crops.
How do I cook artichoke?
You need to pick the right Jerusalem artichoke before making it into a meal. If you have a piece of land, consider growing Jerusalem artichokes yourself. It’s not difficult and yields plenty of healthy food.
However, Jerusalem artichoke crops, in contrast to potatoes, are not year-round plants. Jerusalem artichokes decompose relatively quickly. This is partly due to their thin rind, which isn’t able to reliably protect their flesh.
You need to pay attention to the elasticity of the tubers when you choose artichoke from supermarket shelves.
A quality root won’t be sluggish or soft to the touch. This can indicate staleness and deterioration during the process of putrefaction. It’s also normal to find nodules and roughness on the skin of an artichoke. This is typical of each spine. Another alarming signal of a poor quality product is unevenness in color and the presence of dark spots. Moreover, Jerusalem artichokes are usually sold crude from the soil, which can affect pricing.
Why you shouldn’t rush to wash Jerusalem artichokes
Of course, it will affect the timing of the artichoke’s storage. Fresh from the ground, tubers should be stored in a cellar or a refrigerator, but no longer than one month. If you wash the artichoke, and then clean it, cut it, and store it, it cannot be stowed away for more than 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
The most unusual advice for storing Jerusalem artichoke is leaving part of the tuber in the ground during winter. This applies to cold-resistant varieties of Jerusalem artichoke. These will be abundant in vitamins by the arrival of spring.
How can I use Jerusalem artichokes in cooking?
First of all, you should clean them thoroughly by removing traces of soil and gently removing the skins.
Jerusalem artichokes can be heated or eaten raw. The most simple way to eat them is gnawing the artichoke like a carrot. However, salads made from raw Jerusalem artichoke are much more interesting. Try combining it with carrots, celery, canned corn, peas, apples and so on.
Jerusalem artichokes can be stewed, fried and boiled. They can also be added to a vegetable stew or mashed. Filling salads with Jerusalem artichoke is also possible in addition to mayonnaise, cream sauce and vegetable oils, as well as adding lemon juice and/or mustard. If you decide to boil artichoke, try doing it in milk or cream. This will give your mashed tubers a divine taste.