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Jerusalem Artichokes / Sunchokes Selection and Storage

Sunchoke tubers look much like ginger roots

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Sunchokes
Gunnar Magnusson/Flickr

Sunchoke Selection and Storage

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.

Cooked sunchokes should be refrigerated and consumed within 2 days. Canning and freezing is not recommended due to discoloration and deterioration of texture.

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Jerusalem Artichokes / Sunchokes Photo © 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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