Feb 19, 2014
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Artichoke, Jerusalem

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(Sunchoke)

Nutritional Profile

Energy value (calories per serving): Low

Protein: Moderate

Fat: Low

Saturated fat: Low Cholesterol: None Carbohydrates: High Fiber: High

Sodium: Moderate

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

Low-sodium diet

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.

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