Sunchokes (also know as “Jerusalem Artichokes”) are perennial sunflowers grown for their edible tubers similar to potatoes. They have a slightly nutty flavor and are delicious roasted, fried, or made into a soup.
Jerusalem artichokes provide a number of vitamins and minerals and provide health benefits because of their role as a prebiotic. Most of the carbohydrates in sunchokes are in the form of inulin. Inulin acts as a prebiotic, providing a source of food for beneficial microorganisms in your body. Probiotics help improve your immune function, produce vitamins, lower your cholesterol and prevent disease-causing bacteria from multiplying.
Before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans cultivated Sunchokes as a food source. The tubers persist for years after being planted, so that the species expanded its range from central North America to the eastern and western regions. Early European colonists learned of this, and sent tubers back to Europe, where it became a popular crop and naturalized there.