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How about fermenting sunchokes?  RSS feed

 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Has anyone tried fermenting them?
 
Matu Collins
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I haven't tried it but I've thought about it lots of times. I have so many sunchokes and I don't care for the taste. I do love sauerkraut and kimchee. Maybe in with daikon radish and cabbage and lots of ginger and hot peppers it would work, the crunch would be nice. I just worry that I wouldn't like it and it would sit on the shelf forever.
 
Bettina Bernard
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I just did two quick ferments, shredded sunchokes and cabbage (one part sunchoke, two part cabbage), and shredded sunchokes, cabbage and carrots. They had a hot mustard kind of taste that I liked. I will definitely make it again, at the end of winter, when the inulin has been taken care of. Right now they deserve the name fartichoke.
 
John Saltveit
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Yes, I have fermented sunchokes. They are interesting because they are often listed as one of the best PREbiotics. Fermenting them makes them also one of the best PRObiotics. I like the way they taste straight out of the garden and I also like them fermented. I usually only harvest them in the winter. I get so many that eating all of them raw would be overwhelming. I also think they are great raw in a salad. My kids decided that they are their favorite vegetable because they have a mild, sweet crunchy flavor that kids like. I am very excited when my kids are enthusiastic about eating vegetables.
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William Bronson
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Bettina Bernard wrote:I just did two quick ferments, shredded sunchokes and cabbage (one part sunchoke, two part cabbage), and shredded sunchokes, cabbage and carrots. They had a hot mustard kind of taste that I liked. I will definitely make it again, at the end of winter, when the inulin has been taken care of. Right now they deserve the name fartichoke.


Hot mustard taste? I wonder what from? About the inulin bring taken care of by the end of winter, is that due to the fermentation?
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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I just started a batch of turnips and sunchokes fermenting two days ago. Today they were bubbling like mad and already tasted pretty good.

Turnips are too "hot" aka spicy for my tastes although I like other hot, spicy foods. I'd fermented a batch of turnips with garlic and peppercorns and it was way too much of the wrong kind of spiciness for me. Uff.

Then I fermented turnips with apples, shredded carrots, and cardamom seeds, and the sweetness of the apples almost perfectly balanced out the turnips. It was yum; it was even a low-sugar fermented something that Paul would eat(!), though it didn't last very long because the apples starting getting mushy in a not very pleasing way.

So, I'm explaining all this about turnips, because we have a lot of them, and I find I like them better when combined with something milder and a bit sweeter - hence my sunchoke and turnip ferment right now. NO garlic or peppercorns in it, but I did add cardamom seed again, a bay leaf, celery seed, a pinch of whole cloves, and my "starter" was not whey (which we don't have because Paul and I don't do dairy and haven't advanced to coconut milk yogurt made at home) and wasn't sauerkraut juice either, because I'm out; so I used some fermented dill pickle brine, so there is a bit of dill flavor, too.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:I just started a batch of turnips and sunchokes fermenting two days ago. Today they were bubbling like mad and already tasted pretty good.


I started a batch of turnips fermenting 3 days ago. It is also bubbling like mad. My batch also had a few beets and carrots in it for color, and sunroots because they are available right now. Rats! I just realized that I forgot to add onions. Oh well. Last year I made a batch of fermented sunroots that was about 90% sunroots and 10% onions. It didn't last long -- after my foody friends tasted it.



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Fermenting roots: turnip, sunroot, beet, carrot
 
John Saltveit
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I usually ferment turnips as disk slices of the turnip. Some people call that "pickles".  I don't.  I think they are great. i also love beets that way.  I'm just getting to the time of the year when I'm going to harvest and ferment the sunchokes. 

I don't often use bay leaf and other anti-microbial and antifungal herbs in my sauerkrauts because it is made with fungus and bacteria, but I do use garlic so maybe I'm a hypocrite.

Glad to know that the bay leaf works well beccause we have a bush and we get a ton of it.

William-that was my take on the inulin fermentation end as well.

I didn't understand the hot mustard taste comment either.  Raw cabbage has a slight picante to it. Fermented is sour , but not hot, in my opinion.
John S
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Jocelyn Campbell
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Bettina Bernard wrote:I just did two quick ferments, shredded sunchokes and cabbage (one part sunchoke, two part cabbage), and shredded sunchokes, cabbage and carrots.  They had a hot mustard kind of taste that I liked. I will definitely make it again, at the end of winter, when the inulin has been taken care of.   Right now they deserve the name fartichoke.


Here's more of what I think Bettina meant about sunchokes at the end of winter. From a January 2012 blog post Foraging Brooklyn: Winter-Sweet Sunchokes:

Right now, after a few frosts, sunchokes are perfect. At this time of year they’ve got a subtle sweetness that matches the earthy overtones of their flavor. Raw, they are crunchy — something like a cross between jicama and water chestnut — and great on salads. They are also great cooked. Sunchokes cook more quickly than potatoes but can be used in similar ways. And they make interesting pickles.

But before they’ve gotten the chill treatment from a couple of frosts, sunchokes sometimes have a really funky, unpleasant aftertaste. The reason is a starch called inulin. Cold weather or refrigeration turns inulin into fructose, which is why sunchokes taste sweeter after cold weather.

Another good reason to wait until sunchokes have gone through a chill is that the inulin in sunchokes can cause even more digestive gas than beans do. Fructose doesn’t have the same effect, so once the inulin is converted to fructose by cold weather, this isn’t as much of an issue.


 
Destiny Hagest
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Paul and Jocelyn talk about cooking sunchokes they grew at the Lab in this podcast.

I've never tried fermenting them, but they are mighty tasty roasted with some salt and pepper - such an earthy flavor, like sweet dirt (in a good way).
 
Angelika Maier
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Apparently the natives waited until a few frosts to eat them. I wonder weather they roasted them in firepits for a prolonged time. Or how did they use them? No one really wants that stuff so I reckon there is a way to make them nicer...
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Perhaps I'll chime in, since I grow, sell, and eat sunroots.

It seems to me, that the growth habit of sunroots is to not put much energy into the tubers until the arrival of cooler fall weather. So digging sunroots after a few frosts is just timing the harvest to when the most food is in the ground. Also, the longer I wait to harvest a crop, the more sunlight it is able to capture and store as food. I typically wait to harvest sunroots not because of any sweetness, or inulin/fructose conversion, but simply because there is no sense harvesting a plant that is still growing. I'm pretty sure that I haven't tasted a sweet sunroot, so I am suspicious about claims of them becoming sweet. During the busy, busy, busy fall harvests of corn, beans, and squash, there is no point in picking a crop that will store for months in the ground, and will not be damaged by freezing. I gotta harvest the frost sensitive and rain sensitive crops first. Later on there will be plenty of time to harvest the sunroots. I can even wait to harvest until spring. So my sunroots are typically the last crop I harvest. Because they won't be damaged by freezing weather.

Sunroots are one of the most popular crops that I take to the farmer's market. I'm the only farmer that grows them, so that helps. I always look forward to harvesting the sunroots, because I know ahead of time that people will be clamoring for them.  I fed about 200# of sunroots to my community this fall. They are easy to grow and harvest. I've never noticed a problem with pests nor disease. They store well as long as they are kept moist.

We eat lacto-fermented sunroots. We eat them raw in salads. We eat them in soups, stir-fries, and roasts. We eat them out-of-hand. Our experience is that long cooking times creates a resinous taste, so uncooked is best. Boiled is next best. And deep fried is discouraged.


 
Angelika Maier
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There are always baskets in front of our COOP and the school: Jerusalem artichokes to a good home!
I found small quantities in stews and roasta are OK. Have you ever tried to make wine out of them?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Two weeks ago, I started lacto-fermenting a batch of vegetables containing turnips, beets, carrots, and sunroots. Today I bottled it and stuck it in the fridge. I'm still wishing that I would have added onions to it.



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Fermented vegetables: Turnip, beet, carrot, sunroot.
 
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