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Curing, storing, and cooking sunchokes aka jerusalem artichokes

 
Dave Bennett
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Some important points about Sunchokes.

Referencing the Curious Cook by Harold McGee, this writer says that if you slice the tubers and boil them for 15 minutes with cream of tarter or lemon juice, or bake them in a 200 degree F oven for 24 hours, it will convert the indigestible carbohydrate into fructose.

Storage also helps because over time the starches naturally convert to fructose.

Harvesting them and immediately cooking them does not give the tubers the time they need to convert the inulin to fructose.

There are 114 calories, 0 grams of fat, 6mg of sodium and 14 grams of sugar in 1 cup of fresh, sliced sunchokes.

Sunchokes are high in iron, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin C and phosphorous.

Sunchokes need to be "cured" much like sweet potatoes.  Long storage before cooking give the harvested tubers enough time for the inulin to be converted to fructose which also increases their caloric content.

Peace.
 
gani et se
Posts: 215
Location: Douglas County OR
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Thanks for that Dave, now I may try to grow them for food instead of for mulch. Thought I just disliked them, but maybe had them from folks who didn't know they needed to be stored a while before eating.
 
Leila Rich
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Interesting. I've always been told to harvest them as needed since they don't store very well and the evidence I've seen confirms that. Maybe I haven't stored them correctly, but they seem to go soft and squishy really fast.
I'd also got the idea that imulin's indigestability was a bonus for diabetics. I'm confused. Again.
gani et se, artichokes make great soup if roasted, skin-on and pureed. I'm one of the lucky ones who doesn't get gas from them. If I did, I wouldn't bother eating them
 
Dave Bennett
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The inulin is a benefit to diabetics.  I just posted some info about them that I had run across a while ago.  They need to be stored in a cool dry place.  Keeping them from humidity is important.  They are best if you harvest them after the first frost.  When the inulin is converted they have lots of sucrose.  Cooking them low and very slow helps in the conversion of the inulin to sugar much like cooking a mash when making beer from an all grain recipe.
 
Peter Janssen
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Location: The Netherlands
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If you store Jerusalem artichokes, will they convert the inulin to fructose?

Gr. Matis
 
Dave Bennett
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Matis wrote:
If you store Jerusalem artichokes, will they convert the inulin to fructose?

Gr. Matis
From my original post above:
Referencing the Curious Cook by Harold McGee, this writer says that if you slice the tubers and boil them for 15 minutes with cream of tarter or lemon juice, or bake them in a 200 degree F oven for 24 hours, it will convert the indigestible carbohydrate into fructose.

Storage also helps because over time the starches naturally convert to fructose.

Harvesting them and immediately cooking them does not give the tubers the time they need to convert the inulin to fructose.

There are 114 calories, 0 grams of fat, 6mg of sodium and 14 grams of sugar in 1 cup of fresh, sliced sunchokes.

Sunchokes are high in iron, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin C and phosphorous.

Sunchokes need to be "cured" much like sweet potatoes.  Long storage before cooking give the harvested tubers enough time for the inulin to be converted to fructose which also increases their caloric content.
 
Robert Ray
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Here are the types of sunchokes I now have. We'll see next season if one outdoes another.
My first ones I tried I didn't know what type they were I believe they were white fuseau.
The untitled one bottom row center is "stampede". It's about the size of a goose egg. Upper left label covered, is red fuseau.
The little ground nut bottom right isn't a sunchoke but if you haven't ever seen one it that is what they look like.
IMG_0034.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0034.JPG]
 
Dave Bennett
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I prefer to grow sweet potatoes.  They are easier to deal with from a nutritional standpoint.  The carbohydrates are metabolized slowly which prevents blood glucose spikes so they are easier on your pancreas.
 
Brice Moss
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Location: rainier OR
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sweet potatoes are really hard to grow here on the wet side of the cascades or so I hear. I happen to find them detestable, so I haven't tried but I like all of the sun-chokes I have eaten.
 
Dave Bennett
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Brice Moss wrote:
sweet potatoes are really hard to grow here on the wet side of the cascades or so I hear. I happen to find them detestable, so I haven't tried but I like all of the sun-chokes I have eaten.

Some people don't even like sunchokes.  Personally I can take them or leave.  They are OK but only if there is no other choices.  I wouldn't say that they are detestable though.  Your criticism of sweet potatoes seems a little over the top don't you think?  I don't mind eating sunchokes but sweet potatoes taste better and have lots of uses like making a thickener that is way better than corn starch,  making syrup which is really tasty, and I am particularly fond of sweet potato chips fried in coconut oil.  Sweet potatoes make an interesting beer and wine too.  I don't know if they will grow out there though.  They can be grown in places where the "experts" said they wouldn't survive but a farmer's ingenuity worked around the problem of loving warm weather.  I am speaking of someone that grows them in Ontario. Canada.  I have no clue how wet the wet side of the Cascades are either. 
 
Robert Ray
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Sunchoke flour is someything I've read about elsewhere and want to try.
 
nancy sutton
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Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
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Location? Zone? Climate? Does the new thingie allow us to input/post our location et al? It is was so helpful to know WHERE someone is growing, for example, sweet potatoes. It would be nice if location is shown below our name, or at least available in 'poster info' .... when poster so desires, of course.

Am I, as usual, overlooking the obvious? Is it a planned modification?

Thanks for the great info on sunchokes... makes them more valuable in getting calories (plus biomass) out of odd corners...including for livestock, etc.
 
Zachary Schrock
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Location: Columbus, OH
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I've heard about how the native Americans prepared sunchokes by steaming them in pits for a couple days. I recently tried to kind of simulate this method in a crock pot.
I put a few sunchokes in the bottom of the crock pot and added just a little bit of water. I then strapped a pillow over the top of the crock pot in the hopes of lessening the heat loss from the top. I then turned it on to "keep warm," and left it for fifty some hours. Although some of them were too chared to be edible (I don't think I added enough water) others were very soft inside with a sweet flavor which kind of reminds me of dates.
 
nancy sutton
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Thanks, Zachary! Actual experience is priceless
 
David Miller
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Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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Just FYi to any diabetics out there
from Wiki
"the tubers store the carbohydrate inulin (not to be confused with insulin) instead of starch. For this reason, Jerusalem artichoke tubers are an important source of fructose for industry[citation needed]. The crop yields are high, typically 16–20 tonnes/ha for tubers, and 18–28 tonnes/ha green weight for foliage. Jerusalem artichoke also has a great deal of unused potential as a producer of ethanol fuel, using inulin-adapted strains of yeast for fermentation.[2]"

This is not an insulin substitute or in any way helpful to diabetics, that I can tell. The inulin (not insulin) is not digestible by humans, unless the curing time does indeed yield a change to fructose as is suggested above.
 
Leila Rich
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Nancy, I think the tech people are working to get the location etc bit up.
It's important to me, so it's my signature
 
Vera Lothian
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Location: Wiltshire UK
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I personally have no issue storing them. I have them clean and dry in a bucket under the porch at the back of the house.
 
Lori Crouch
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Location: Amarillo, TX.
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For anyone interested:

According to my Anatomy and Physiology book (Aris/Saladin 2010); "There doesn't appear to be a single urine solute produced by the body that is not secreted or reabsorbed to some degree. However, several plants, including garlic and artichoke, produce a polysaccharide called INULIN that is useful for GRF [(glomerular filtration rate)] measurement. All INULIN filtered by the glomerulus [(microscopic filter of each kidney cell -nephron)] remains in the renal tubule and appears in the urine; none is reabsorbed, nor does the tubule [(part of the nephron)] secrete it."

It essentially goes in the body and straight out unchanged, which is why it is useful for them to measure kidney function with it.
 
Carina Robicheaux
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Location: Oregon Coast Range zone 8b
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Thanks for the pic of varieties. What I have looks like Stampede, and I have a red variety that is long and slender like White Fuseau. Yesterday I boiled the tubers in water for 10 min., then sliced them and layered in a baking dish with butter, salt and pepper, parsley and parmesan cheese. Baked at 350 for about 20min.
I thought they were tasty...very much flavored like artichoke hearts.
It was the red variety I cooked. I'm storing them in my bedroom (cool and dry) but the tips seem to be withering so I think they might like more humidity (bucket under the porch..good idea)
The round white 'stampede' variety seems to keep longer than the long red variety....
I grew the white variety in crap clay soil, watered them once when I put them in, the chickens abused them, and they still thrived. I like indestructible perennial food plants. I haven't grown the red variety yet.
BTW, the "gas factor" wasn't that bad. About like beans. I'm gonna try mashing them next...
 
C.J. Murray
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Location: 5,500 ft. desert. 13" annual precip.
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A I understand it the benefit to diabetics is that because the carbohydate inulin is indigestible by humans it cannot cause any blood sugar spike related issues.
 
richard valley
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Thanks, I love them, we grew them on the ranch, never knew there was more than one type.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Anyone have an experience in how deep can leftover sunchokes in the ground can be mulched without giving them problems coming back next year. Were in the bc raindump season and i'm laying the mulch down 12 inches thick. I've only done sunchokes in new plots so far but now there maturing and I just don't want to kill over my sunchokes in the spring. I'm use to burring them pretty deep for starters but I don't know what there like for chizeling through hay. I could always pull mulch off and let them come up in the spring but I really don't want the rain directly pounding the soil anymore.
 
S Haze
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last year, around this time, i tried pickling some raw sunchokes. they tasted great and it seemed to help the gas thing. anyone else tried this or know what effect fermentation has on them?
 
Brenda Groth
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my chokes resemble the stampede in the photographs above..I get around 100 chokes per plant when I harvest them. Mine will grow anywhere..sand, clay, woods, fields, garden of course..etc.

I haven't tried long cooking methods, but think I'll give it a try in the crockpot this winter..sounds like it might be the best method for me..

This year I dug up 2 plants and managed to plant an entire 250 ' row along our property line in the woods, for wildlife forage..and then I dug up another 2 plants and planted another 250 ' row along our drainage ditch in pure clay as a privacy screen/ animal forage plant there..ridiculous how much food you can get from one single plant
 
wayne stephen
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I am not diabetic but appreciate the low cal aspect of chokes , and enjoy them cooked or raw. When people were working super hard to survive and every calorie counted nutrient density would have been an issue. For the average American some negative calorie foods are a plus. I work hard on my homestead but still work an outside job thats only mildly strenuous - mostly stressful which adds fat to your body. I even jog and lift weights but still have a small gut which is a precursor to diabetes. Unless your Old Order Amish and still plowing behind a mule , or a vegan then a low cal dish to go with the chicken or grass fed beefsteak might be a blessing.Especially ones that are fiberous and mineral rich. A good way to prepare them raw is to marinate them thinly sliced in a little olive oil , lime juice , green onion , cilantro , jalapeno , lime zest, and garlic.
 
Max Kennedy
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Anyone in Canada got some they can send me? I will be seed saving at the end of the growing season so if I have anything you would like in trade, see "11 acres (almost) and a dream", just let me know. All the places I can find online are out.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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after digging up all the sunchokes in my garden this year and moving about a dozen wheelborrow loads out of the garden and giving a few more wheelborrow loads away, i was still pulling srouts out of the garden 3 months later..yikes..hopefully I'll get them all out..but I have them replanted in the woods, fields and hedgerows as well as a hedge n of my food forest garden..should have millions next year so any michigan people that want some I'll have them (we do have a drought this year but they are still growing)
 
Max Kennedy
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Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
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Luck! A month and a half ago I was taking dogs out for a walk in the bush and followed a yard sale sign to a hobby farm being sold. Got a few things then and saw a pile of wood the guy didn't want to get rid of then. Left a card and he called a few weeks ago so ended up getting about $1250 in lumber for $250. In moving it I noticed a patch of fast growing plants, asked him if they were sunchokes and he said no, Jerusalem Artichokes. BINGO! Long story short I have permission to take out a couple of pails full when the property finally sells. As a bonus he told me of a patch nearby at the site of an old school building. They are a smaller variety but will look great as part of a mini wildflower meadow out at the highway!
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