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Jerusalem artichokes

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The Jerusalem artichoke is not from Jerusalem nor is it from any part the artichoke family. It is actually a tuber (similar to potato), related to the sunflower. It often looks similar to fresh ginger and has a rich nutty flavour reminiscent of chestnuts and hazelnuts. Jerusalem artichokes originated in North America and can be eaten raw or cooked.

They are great in soups, roasted, steamed, made into mash, baked gratin style, and tossed through salads. Other ingredients they match well with include butter; extra virgin olive oil; mustard; onions; garlic; parsley; chives; spinach; potatoes and celery.

The plumper a Jerusalem artichoke is the better! Fewer knobbly bits mean less to discard and avoid soft or sprouting ones. Choose those of similar size so they cook evenly. They are great for vegetarians as they are very high iron and they have health benefits for your heart and blood pressure as well.

Brenda from Alnda Farms grows Jerusalem artichokes at Gawler River and her quick tip for cooking Jerusalem artichokes is to: "Grab a saucepan and pour in enough olive oil to just cover the bottom. Add chopped leek or onion, half a rasher of chopped bacon and 500gm of sliced Jerusalem artichokes, no need to peel, just scrub and slice. Cover and cook on low heat and they are cooked when soft.” Serve as an accompaniment to grilled fish, scallops, prawns, chicken or beef.

Note: Once peeled they discolour quite quickly. We recommend placing them in a bowl of water and lemon juice to stop browning.

In season (approximately): April to December

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