Jerusalem artichokes

These Winter roots are Jerusalem artichokes. Also known as sunroots, because, as I learned recently, they are the tuber of the sunflower plant. Jerusalem artichokes may receive a bad rep for giving some people wind, but if you can digest them without the side effects, I have a whole host of reasons to eat them more frequently.

 

The tuber of the sunflower plant

Let’s start with the term ‘prebiotic’, which Jerusalem artichokes are abundant in. “Prebiotics are components of food that are closely involved with our healthy microbes” explains Prof Tim Spector, author of The Diet Myth. Essentially, they are non-digestible fibres that create a favourable environment within our guts for our microbes to thrive. Why do we want this? Because our guts need a healthy and diverse range of microbes to function well and 70% of our immune system is housed within our gut (I’m fascinated by gut health btw, more about me here).

So, not only are Jerusalem artichokes a prebiotic inulin powerhouse, they are also a great source of B vitamins, potassium and iron, to name a few.

There are a host of recipes to be found on Jerusalem artichoke soups, salads and roasts. I like to keep it simple:

  • The tubers might need a scrub before cooking to rid them of their dirt and tougher skin parts.
  • Halve and quarter them, a bit like you’re making potato wedges
  • Roast in fat* with some rosemary and garlic (another great source of prebiotic inulin), salt and pepper
  • Around 30-40 minutes in a fan over at 160C should be about right – until they’re golden and crisped (keep an eye on them, it depends what size you cut them to start with)

It wouldn’t be uncommon to find me eating them on their own but you could try serving them instead of potatoes, for example, or as part of a warm salad.

*I tend to use ghee / butter / leftover fat from making broths or slow-cooking meats / coconut oil.

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