Jerusalem artichokes – underrated superfood?
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It is also known as “sunchokes”, and is related to sunflowers. Easy to grow, with tall yellow flowers in spring and summer, and the tubers are harvested in autumn. Low maintenance, low water needs, and can be grown as a perennial, just leave a few tubers in the ground after harvesting. Can also be harvested as you need throughout winter.
Planting: Plant in spring. Plant tubers 10-15 cms deep, 30-45 cms apart. If they are already sprouting, make sure the shoots are pointing upwards, and be gentle, as they break off quite easily. If you don’t have many tubers, you can cut them into pieces (don’t let these dry out), ensuring that each piece has a bud on it, and plant those.
Jerusalem artichokes are rich in inulin (different to insulin), a good source of prebiotic. This is the food for probiotics/gut bacteria, which are vital for gut health. It’s why many probiotics on the market now include inulin. Interestingly, extracted inulin is included in my hopper ant immunotherapy trial, with the hypothesis that it helps moderate the immune system.
Can be eaten raw or cooked, and is also a good source of fibre (again, essential for gut health).
Here’s an interesting article, with some references at the end for further reading:
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