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Fartychokes for calories

 
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At last they are flowering. My aim is to spread them far and wide for an energy crop for all of us next year. When should I harvest - now or after die back?
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We usually dig them in the middle of winter. I think the flavour improves a bit with cold.
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Thank you, Phil!
 
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I've tried early and late, early they are less difficult to clean.Less dirt in less crevices. The taste i wouldn't know about. I make soup or cook them, if the farting bothers you i've read to let it sit for a day and then reheat. I personally was disapointed about how farty i got, it's like the stomach gets used to it. Bummer..
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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I am going to put some in my dogs' food. It cannot possibly make them worse!
 
Hugo Morvan
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Had quite a petite girlfriend at the time, the noises she made belonged in a zoo, we were rolling about laughing.
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Hugo Morvan wrote:Had quite a petite girlfriend at the time, the noises she made belonged in a zoo, we were rolling about laughing.



Awesome!  Just told him indoors about that and he is still giggling!
 
Phil Stevens
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If the personal levels of emissions get out of hand, chickens and ducks love them.
 
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Phil Stevens wrote:If the personal levels of emissions get out of hand, chickens and ducks love them.

Chickens and ducks love farts?
 
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Some people can digest them better than others.  I'm one who can't digest them well.  The first harvest I did of mine was just after the first frost of the year.  I ate them and had the most painful, explosive gas I've ever experienced in my life, and if you really knew me you'd know that's saying something!!  I then ignored the plants for a few years figuring I couldn't really eat them.

I've since learned more about them.  If you want the most inulin, the part that produces the gas, then harvest in the fall.  If, however, you want the least and you want the tubers to be sweeter they you should wait to harvest until early spring when the soil become workable again.  At that point the inulin will have had the most time to break down into simpler sugars that are easier to digest.  So this is what I now do.  For me though this still isn't enough.  I also will cook the crap out of them to break it all down more, as in have them simmering for a couple days.  I envy those of you who can eat them raw as they'd be so excellent that way.
 
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I second that wait for them to be frosted more and cook longer. Also, treat them like water chestnuts or turnips, not potatoes. Potatoes I can eat in quantity.  Turnips I taste the fiber and naturally stop. Fartichokes don't taste fibery to me, but the output afterwards is definitely biogas.


Anyone know if there's a low inulin variety of sunchoke?
 
Phil Stevens
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Elizabeth Geller wrote:Chickens and ducks love farts?



The tubers. Insufficient data to make any claims on the other.
 
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Are the calories metabolized if you can't digest the 'chokes?
 
Phil Stevens
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Are the calories metabolized if you can't digest the 'chokes?



That's an interesting question. It's just the inulin that we don't digest, and apparently it's a probiotic rock star...most of us have gut microbes that devour the stuff. From what I gleaned surfing the web, inulin is a family of polysaccharides, also found in beans and many other high-fibre foods.

 
Amit Enventres
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To make beans less farty, you can soak them overnight, cook them well, and add certain herbs: epazote, I believe, is one of them.

If your farting, doesn't that mean your microbiome is working at the fiber making the gas?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Phil Stevens wrote:It's just the inulin that we don't digest



Isn't inulin a kind of carbohydrate (a fructose)?  If this carbohydrate isn't being digested, where are the calories coming from?

 
David Huang
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Phil Stevens wrote:It's just the inulin that we don't digest



Isn't inulin a kind of carbohydrate (a fructose)?  If this carbohydrate isn't being digested, where are the calories coming from?



There are other carbohydrates in them as well as some protein and a tiny bit of fat.  I did just go and look up the nutrition profile for them at:  https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/jerusalem-artichoke.html

In the write up it says they are, "especially high in oligo-fructose inulin, which is a soluble non-starch polysaccharide."  It also says that "Inulin is a zero calorie saccharine and inert carbohydrate which does not undergo metabolism inside the human body".

My personal suspicion is that when testing is done to determine the calorie count of a food whatever is "counting" the calories does register the inulin even if our bodies don't actually utilize it.  I believe the high dietary fiber of them is another matter not necessarily related to the gas.  From what I've been learning more broadly fiber is what much of our gut microbiome is eating and it's good to feed them.
 
Tyler Ludens
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David Huang wrote:"Inulin is a zero calorie saccharine and inert carbohydrate which does not undergo metabolism inside the human body"



So from that, it looks like Sunchokes are not a good calorie crop for humans, but might be a good one for critters who can digest them, and then get eaten by humans.
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote: So from that, it looks like Sunchokes are not a good calorie crop for humans, but might be a good one for critters who can digest them, and then get eaten by humans.



I suspect that you're correct Tyler, unless they are cooked for long periods of time as is done with camas, which is also packed with inulin.  Camas:  So, you're into slow food?

According to this paper for sunchokes: "Total carbohydrate content of the tubers is divided into 80–90% inulin, 7–14% sucrose and 3–6% reducing sugars, on average."

I wonder if there's any record of native Americans doing large 48 hour pit roastings with sunchokes like was done with camas?  I wonder if sunchokes take it as well?  More experimenting to do!!!
 
Amit Enventres
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Researching how to break down inulin. I found this study:
THE EFFECT OF pH, TEMPERATURE
AND HEATING TIME ON INULIN CHEMICAL STABILITY
Paweł Glibowski, Anna Bukowska
University of Life Sciences in Lublin
"Results. The conducted studies showed that inulin chemical stability at pH  4 decreased
with an increase of heating time and temperature. In a neutral and basic environment inu-
lin was chemically stable regardless of heating time and temperature.
Conclusions. Inulin application in food systems may be limited in acidic products espe-
cially when heated above 60°C during the production process. However, in products at pH
≥ 5, the degradation of this fructan does not occur even at thermal processing."

Science Direct says Jerusalem artichokes are only up to 10% inulin of percent wet weight. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/inulin

Some research into pH says there are foods it could be added to and it is a pH of 6, which is about the same as beets. https://www.pickyourown.org/ph_of_foods.htm

Looks like if you mix a little lemon juice or vinegar in with them while you cook you solve the problem. Anyone want to the Guinea pig or already have experience with this?

 
Amit Enventres
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Ever wonder what would happen if you mixed two unusual things together and figured no one would ever have researched that, but then you google it and there it is? Well, this is one of those times.  Acorns are high in tannic acid and require a lot of cooking. They were a common Native American food. Sunchokes are high in inulin and require heat+acid to break down the inulin. They were also a common Native American food. My though was what if that last boil of acorns you threw in the sunchokes: what would happen? This paper seems to address just that: https://books.google.com/books?id=Sx8VNIE1APsC&pg=PA226&lpg=PA226&dq=tannic+acid+plus+inulin&source=bl&ots=N3Zkjlu9Pm&sig=ACfU3U1M20oa4zjYvU0S7AXwtLNtq7mgkQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiB3v35hdvkAhXTl54KHS2jD20Q6AEwGnoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=tannic acid plus inulin&f=false

Let me know if you can understand it as I do that mixing tannic acid and inulin breaks down inulin to a sweet "sugar". I'm going to run this by my sister who does research and speaks this language.

Thanks!
 
Phil Stevens
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Maybe this is an obvious question, but has anyone tried fermenting them?
 
Greg Martin
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Phil Stevens wrote:Maybe this is an obvious question, but has anyone tried fermenting them?



Lacto-Fermented Pickled Sunchokes!

:)  That will address the pH issue too!  I can't wait to try this.  Jocelyn has and said they were well liked.
 
David Huang
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Awesome Greg and Amit!  I was wondering just how much of the carbohydrate was inulin.  Apparently pretty high.  The thought that an acidic solution would break it down better never occurred to me either.  I definitely must try that out, and then combining that thought with acorns which I'm trying to find ways to utilize...  just fabulous!!  I may just have to harvest some tubers this fall instead of spring and see what happens.  Spring is probably still better for me, but at the moment I don't want to wait!  If anyone else does try this first please report back!  
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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I think if you mixed the fartychokes and the acorns together and passed them through the digestive system of a pig, they would make great bacon.
 
Amit Enventres
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This whole acorn+fartychokes thing and acorn season got me thinking and running some calculations. My quest is to grow all our food on our little suburban temperate lot. For arguments sake, I thought what production in calories could be made if you take a mature red oak and plant an understory of sunchokes? The calculations are a bit shakey. I pulled the production based on acres of mid-level producing trees 200,000 acorns/acre to a single mature tree 36 trees per acre. Then using 10 calories per acorn (estimate converting ounces to individual acorns). I got 55,555 Calories per tree. I then added in the fartychoke production based on Ecology Action's grow biointense average numbers for the approximate canopy square footage of 900sqft. This means another 639,630 Calories. Together, these two things can provide enough Calories for one person just under one tree!! Double check me on this, but if I'm right, the population this could sustain/could have sustained in the past is HUGE.
 
Tyler Ludens
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My concern would be - will the Sunchokes grow in the dense shade of the Oak?  In an Oak savannah system, I can see the Sunchokes occupying the spaces between Oaks, but on a little suburban lot, I think the Oak would dominate too much space and make it almost impossible to grow much else.

 
David Huang
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I don't know if sunchokes would grow under an oak tree or not, but I do have a nice mature oak here on my property and I can tell you there is a LOT of undergrowth around it, so you can certainly grow some things underneath one.  That said my sunchokes are all growing in areas of full sun.  I've never tried them in full or partial shade so I don't know how they'd do there.
 
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Has anyone tried sous vide-ing either sunchokes or camass?  It seems like a very controllable way to cook them in a moist environment for a long time.  (My BF is paranoid and won't be able to sleep with the oven on overnight, but the Anova is fine.  I end up being the one worrying it will steam off too much water and am up all night...)  Also, the prices of sous vide machines are dropping all the time, and the energy requirement seems not terrible: https://www.amazingfoodmadeeasy.com/info/modernist-cooking-blog/more/how-much-energy-does-sous-vide-use

Here's a recipe that looks useful - and the lemon juice might help reduce the inulin:  https://blog.sousvidesupreme.com/2014/04/spring-sunchokes/
And a bunch of cooks talking about how to use sunchokes (in very upscale ways) - the comments are actually more useful:  https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/05/what-to-do-with-sunchokes.html

Ok, I can just stop by the market and try at least the sunchokes.  Will report back.
 
Amit Enventres
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A rotten sunchoke I threw out started growing under the canopy of my oaks this spring.  Doing just fine there. It's not that dense if you space them 30' apart, which is the numbers I used.
 
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