What Are Jerusalem Artichokes?

This unique tuber has nothing to do with artichokes or Jerusalem.

If you've ever stumbled upon a Jerusalem artichoke at the farmers' market, you might have found yourself confused with how to use this knobby, not-so-common vegetable. But never fear, our helpful guide will teach you exactly what this veggie is, where to buy it, and how to cook it.

What Exactly is a Jerusalem Artichoke?

A member of the sunflower family, Jerusalem artichokes—also sometimes called sunchokes—are tubers that have no actual relation to artichokes, or Jerusalem for that matter, and are commonly grown in North America. Each one has a rough skin, which ranges in colors from dark brown to light tan, and an interior that is similar in texture to a potato. Jerusalem artichokes have a mildly nutty taste that's reminiscent of water chestnuts when raw and take on an artichoke heart flavor when cooked.

How to Cook Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes can be cooked practically any way you'd cook potatoes, but with the exception that this tuber can also be enjoyed raw. Try boiling and mashing them, roasting, puréeing into soups, grilled, or thinly sliced for salads. While the skin of Jerusalem artichokes is edible with an earthy flavor, it has a texture that's too stringy for most, so we recommend peeling them before cooking.

Still life of jerusalem artichokes on wood, overhead view
BRETT STEVENS / Getty Images

Buying and Storing Jerusalem Artichokes

You won't always find Jerusalem artichokes at your grocery store. Instead, keep an eye out during the beginning of winter to find this uncommon tuber at farmers markets and specialty grocery stores. Pick ones that are firm with no wrinkles or mold. Jerusalem artichokes will last a few weeks when stored unwashed in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator.

Do Jerusalem Artichokes Cause Illness?

Sometimes jokingly referred to as "fartichokes," Jerusalem artichokes have a reputation for occasionally causing excessive gas, bloating, and sometimes even diarrhea for certain people. That is because this root vegetable is high in inulin, an indigestible fiber and prebiotic, which can cause digestive trouble in some. This side effect happens more often when Jerusalem artichokes are served raw, so take it slow when you first start enjoying this veggie uncooked. Also be aware that the amount of inulin varies between each tuber, and some people are more sensitive than others, so it won't have the same effect on everyone.

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