Energy value (calories per serving): Low
Saturated fat: Low Cholesterol: None Carbohydrates: High Fiber: High
Major vitamin contribution: Folate, vitamin C
Major mineral contribution: Potassium
About the Nutrients in This Food
Jerusalem artichokes are the edible roots of a plant related to the American
sunflower. They store carbohydrates as inulin, a complex carbohydrate (starch) made of units of fruit sugar (fructose). Right after the Jerusalem artichoke is dug up, it tastes bland and starchy. After it has been stored for a while, the starches turn to sugars, so the artichoke tastes sweet. Jerusalem artichokes are high in fiber with the B vitamin folate, vitamin C, and iron.
One-half cup raw sliced Jerusalem artichoke has one gram dietary fiber, 10 mcg folate (2.5 percent of the adult R DA), 3 mcg vitamin C (4 percent of the R DA for a woman, 3 percent of the R DA for a man), and 2.5 mg iron (14 percent of the R DA for a woman, 32 percent of the R DA for a man).
The Most Nutritious Way to Serve This Food
Sliced and served raw in salads or cooked as a vegetable side dish.
Diets That May Restrict or Exclude This Food
Buying This Food
Look for: Firm clean roots with no soft or bruised patches.
Storing This Food
Refrigerate Jerusalem artichokes in plastic bags, covered containers or the vegetable crisper to protect their moisture and keep them fresh.
Preparing This Food
When you slice a Jerusalem artichoke, you tear cell walls, releasing polyphenoloxidase, an enzyme that converts phenols to brown compounds that darken the flesh. You can slow the reaction (but not stop it completely) by painting the cut surface with a solution of lemon juice or vinegar and water.
What Happens When You Cook This Food
In cooking, the starch granules in the Jerusalem artichoke absorb water, swell, and eventu- ally rupture, softening the root and releasing the nutrients inside.
Adverse Effects Associated with This Food
Some people are unable to properly digest inulin, the carbohydrate in the Jerusalem arti- choke. For them, eating this tuber raw may cause painful gas. Cooking breaks down inulin and improves digestibility.