How to Store Sunchokes Properly – What Is the Best Way to Harvest and Choose Them?
Also called Jerusalem artichoke, the sunchoke is a vegetable. It doesn’t really look particularly attractive. But below that soli-covered, thin skin is a load of nutrients in the form of a versatile texture. One that offers a refreshing, subtle taste. But not many people know a lot about sunchokes, let alone how to store sunchokes.
So how about you and I get to know a little more? In this post, I have discussed everything that is the most important about this vegetable that, in China, is known as foreign ginger because of its ginger-like appearance.
Brief Description of Sunchokes
Cooking with root vegetables involves the Jerusalem artichoke. The roots of ginger and the knobby tubers of sunchoke look very alike. With the light brown color skin tinged with purple, red, or yellow. The soil is what decides the color of the tinge.
Sunchokes have a diameter of 1-2 inches and a length of 3-4 inches. As for the prime season of sunchokes, these are available all around the year. But mainly during the months between October and April.
Not many know that Jerusalem artichoke or sunchoke is a native vegetable in North America. Particularly along the east coast. The popularity dwindled during the 1900s, but now they’re slowly beginning to be more commonly used.
Health Benefits of Sunchokes
Potato is the tuber cousin of sunchokes. However, the latter contains zero starch. On top of that, sunchokes also offer 2-percent protein also. They contain inulin as well, which is a form of carbohydrate that takes the form of fructose just when its tuber and plant are separated.
No wonder sunchokes are a healthy choice for those with diabetes. The fructose can be very easily tolerated in that regard. At the same time, you get the deliciously sweet flavor.
Thiamin, potassium, and iron are also present in sunchokes. To lower your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, etc. And to behave just like a prebiotic for boosting the health and condition of your intestinal tract.
How to Choose the Best Sunchokes
So how do you go about picking sunchokes of different varieties? The best ones consist of firm, unblemished, clean, and smooth tubers that have fewer bumps. Many farmers are aiming for breeding out these bumps, especially in the newer varieties of sunchokes. So it’s natural now to come across those that aren’t so knobby as before.
But keep away from sunchokes with blotched sprouts, soft spots, and wrinkled skins.
The beauty of Jerusalem artichokes is that you can consume them cooked or raw. Just scrub off the tubers using your vegetable brush before you eat or cook them. You may not be able to peel because of the difficult protuberances. However, peeling isn’t necessary since the peels are edible.
If you still want to peel the sunchokes, then start off first by slicing the small, bumpy areas. And then remove the skin using the vegetable peeler.
As for cooking them, feel free to microwave, steam, or boil the vegetable unpeeled i.e. whole first. And after that, peel if necessary.
How to Harvest Sunchokes Properly for Storage
I know this isn’t information you might have asked for, but I’m listing it down nevertheless. Because it’s always a better idea to know everything about a vegetable before you use or store it.
- Start with the spading fork. First, lifting the tuber by loosening the soil with the fork is very important. Loosen the soil in a circle measuring 24 inches, which is 61 cm, around those stems. Then move on to loosen the soil inward by lifting those tubers. This harvesting works with dry soil.
- Light brown, small, knobby potatoes – that’s what the tubers of sunchokes look like. The tubers are intertwined with and strongly attached to the soil and roots. So you may have to put in some extra effort for separating these stems and roots from the tubers.
- The harvesting part should be done with the utmost care, and very gently. Because the skins of sunchokes are incredibly thin, which means easily susceptible to bruising or cutting. And if that happens, there’s no way you can store them well. Keeping that in mind, lift only a few at a time. And remember that tubers lose moisture very quickly unless placed in cold storage.
- During harvesting, eliminate the crown, leaving just around half an inch intact. And then it’s time to store these tubers within 3-4 hours.
How to Store Sunchokes the Right Way
With these useful tips, you can rest assured knowing that your sunchokes are kept fresh for the longest time possible…
- Firstly, the most optimum temperature for storage is between 32 degrees and 34 degrees Fahrenheit. You can store them in a plastic bag or container with damp sand in your basement or cold root cellar.
When the temperature is maintained at 32 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity, expect your sunchokes to last for anywhere between 2 and 5 months.
- When you store them in your fridge inside a perforated-type plastic bag, they keep for just 10 days.
- Jerusalem artichokes may look like potatoes, but they definitely don’t store like them. So if you store sunchokes like potatoes, they tend to dry and then shrivel.
- And lastly, save some good ones to re-plant them next season.
Jerusalem artichokes originated in the United States of America. They’re more popularly and commonly known as sunchokes of course. I have talked at length about what it is, how to choose the best ones, how to harvest it, and how to store it properly.
Sunchokes have a root that’s clean, crispy, and nutty in terms of taste. And they’re the most delicious ingredient added to many types of stews and soups. But be mindful because they tend to make you a bit too gassy. So first test the waters and then start cooking with them often.