JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE: Properties, Uses and Benefits

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Common Name: Jerusalem Artichoke, Sunroot, Sunchoke, Topinambour

Species: Helianthus Tuberosus

Family: Asteraceae

 

Jerusalem artichoke is a herbaceous perennial related to sunflower and native to North America. Today it’s widely cultivated across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable, eaten both raw and cooked. Other uses come from Industry being tuber a great source of biomass, as well as high quality alcohol is extracted from tuber fermentation.

CULTIVATION

Needing plenty of space to grow, this perennial is ideal when planted as a windbreak or screen. Its stem can very tall 2 to 3 meter, leaves have a rough, hairy texture. Can be found in uncultivated land which have previously been cultivated, near lakes and wet meadows. Jerusalem artichokes are easy to cultivate, which tempts gardeners to simply leave them completely alone to grow. The quality of the edible tubers degrades, however, unless the plants are dug up and replanted in fertile soil. Because even a small piece of tuber will grow if left in the ground, the plant can overshadow nearby plants and can take over huge areas.

Each root can make an additional 75 to 200 tubers during a year resulting in a plant . Harvest the tubers in late autumn and either replant the tubers immediately or store them in  frost-free place for planting them out in early spring.

CULINARY USE

The tuber develops a pleasant sweetness during the winter. It’s in my personal opinion are best cooked, and can substitute potatoes because they have a similar consistency and  texture. The taste is instead sweeter, a nuttier delicate flavor more similar to artichoke.

The tuber, raw and sliced thinly, are a fantastic healthy fit for a salad. Jerusalem artichokes work well both boiled, roasted, braised, sauteed or stir-fried. Tubers are rich in inulin that stored for any length of time converts into its component fructose.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES

The plant is aphrodisiac,  diuretic, spermatogenetic, digestive and tonic, Jerusalem artichoke is a folk remedy for diabetes and rheumatism. Many of these health effects can be attributed to the ability of inulin to stimulate the growth of bifido bacterium. Naturally present in the large intestine, bifido bacterium fight harmful bacteria in the intestines reducing intestinal concentrations of certain carcinogenic enzymes, prevent constipation, and give the immune system a boost.

Jerusalem artichokes are rich in iron and provide even more potassium than bananas, which are famous for their high potassium content. Potassium is particularly important for a healthy heart and properly functioning muscles.

By eating Jerusalem artichokes and other potassium-rich foods you may also improve the health of your bones and even reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. Potassium-containing foods are considered particularly beneficial for people who eat a lot of salty food.