Things I Learned Today: What the Hell Sunchokes Are

sunchokes: not as pretty as their name.

So I like to buy food that’s local and seasonal. These terms have been beaten to death in the last couple years, and I especially dislike “locavore.” It just makes me happy to have food that came from close by. So since we’re in the depths of winter, this is pretty tough. One of my local groceries, Good Food Store, labels where their produce came from, and puts cute little Montana-shaped signs on the local stuff. So while perusing the produce today, I saw exactly three little Montana signs: on parsnips, beets and sunchokes.

Now, parsnips and beets I know quite well, but what the hell is a sunchoke?

I gathered that it was some form of tuber and I picked up a few.

So after a bit of research, I’ve found that these are indeed tubers, and are more commonly called Jerusalem artichokes. Some groceries label them “sunchokes” because they don’t come from Jerusalem and don’t remotely resemble artichokes. (There’s some long weird story about why they got to be called Jerusalem artichokes. Some dude thought they tasted like artichokes, basically.) The Jerusalem artichoke plant is a pretty flower similar to a daisy. Sunchokes are starchy and can basically be treated like potatoes, and have vitamins in ’em and such. (Not that I care, because I never pay attention to what vitamins and minerals are in vegetables. I just trust that it’s good for me.)

So I sliced these babies up and fried them with onions and they were quite tasty. Definitely potatoe-y.

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