I grow Jersualem artichokes in my herb garden. Neighbors Jamie and Jess stopped by for a visit and pretty soon, I had them digging up chokes.
The knobby sunchoke tubers look similar to ginger roots, with light brown skin which may be tinged with yellow, red, or purple depending on the soil they are grown in. They are 3 to 4 inches long and 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Although available year-round, prime season is from October to April, and they are best dug after a light frost.
Choose smooth, clean, unblemished, firm tubers with a minimum of bumps. Farmers are attempting to breed out the bumps in newer varieties, so you will find some are less knobby than others. Avoid those with wrinkled skins, soft spots, blotched green areas or sprouts.
Jerusalem artichokes may be eaten raw or cooked. Before eating or cooking, scrub the tubers thoroughly with a vegetable brush. Peeling can be difficult due to the protuberances and is not necessary. The peels are perfectly edible. However, if you must peel them, slice off the smaller bumpy areas and remove skin with a vegetable peeler. If you will be eating them cooked, you will find it easier to boil, steam or microwave them whole and unpeeled first, and then peel if necessary.
Handle sunchokes with care as they will bruise easily. Raw sunchokes should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from light. They may also be stored in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, wrapped in paper towels to absorb humidity, and sealed in a plastic bag.
Depending on how long they have been sitting at the market, raw sunchokes can be stored from 1 to 3 weeks.
I found Jerusalem artichokes at my Jungle Jims market here in Cincinnati. They are plump and ready to cook.
1 pint Brussels sprouts, cut in 1/2
1/2 pound Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch dice
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped chives
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.In a large bowl, combine all the vegetables, coat with olive oil and season generously with salt.Spread the vegetables on a sheet tray in an even layer, don’t pile them up. The vegetables don’t need to be spread out but they need to be pretty much in a single even layer. If this is not the case, use 2 trays.
Put the vegetables in the preheated oven. 15 minutes into the cooking process, stir the vegetables so they have the chance to brown all over, and rotate the tray to insure even cooking. Repeat this process after another 15 minutes. Roast the vegetables for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are roasty brown and should smell almost like popcorn!. Check for doneness. This means taste some! If they aren’t very roasty brown, let them go for another few minutes until they are. Season with salt, if needed. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with chives and serve immediately.