What Are Sunchokes?

Learn about the tuber vegetable, including its health benefits and flavor profile.

a photo of sunchokes chopped up and laying around a wooden cutting board
Photo: Getty Images

The sunchoke is a hearty winter vegetable that deserves a spot in your kitchen. Also known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are the tuber of perennial sunflowers, which are indigenous to North America. They have knobby, brown skin and creamy white flesh. Read on to learn more about this versatile and nutrient-dense food, from how to prepare it to how to store it.

What Do Sunchokes Taste Like?

Sunchokes have an earthy, nutty flavor that some compare to a water chestnut or potato. When cooked, they develop a more starchy texture with a recognizable artichoke aftertaste. Their slightly sweet flavor profile makes them a delicious addition to soups or side dishes.

Where to Buy Sunchokes

Sunchokes are best during the fall and winter months. Look for them at farmers' markets or your local grocery store. When buying sunchokes, choose ones that are firm, without soft or spongy spots. Avoid sunchokes that have a shriveled appearance.

Sunchoke Nutrition

Here is the nutrition information for 100 grams (about two-thirds of a cup) of raw sunchokes:

  • 73 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 4 mg sodium
  • 17.4 g carbohydrates
  • 1.6 g dietary fiber
  • 9.6 g sugar
  • 0 g added sugar
  • 2 g protein
  • 3.4 mg iron (19% Daily Value)
  • 429 mg potassium (9% DV)
  • 17 mg magnesium (4% DV)

Sunchokes are also a great source of inulin. Inulin is a type of fiber that can help you feel more full after eating, maintain consistent blood sugar levels and can help lower cholesterol levels. It has also been shown to help people maintain regular bowel movements. But be sure to enjoy inulin in moderation and up your intake gradually, as too much can lead to abdominal pain and constipation.

Sunchokes are a great source of prebiotics, too. Prebiotics are an indigestible type of fiber that helps feed the good bacteria in your gut. Supporting your gut microbes can help with everything from healthy weight maintenance to healthy immune function.

How to Cook Sunchokes

The sunchoke is a tasty starchy veg to add to your eating pattern. Braised, roasted or sautéed, the sunchoke is a nutritious addition to any meal. Braising sunchokes is as easy as tossing them in a pan with some butter or olive oil, and then simmering them in some wine or broth until soft and fragrant. Sunchokes are also delicious roasted, as the exterior turns crisp and brown with a tender inside. Try roasting sunchokes with your favorite herbs like rosemary, thyme or pepper and some oil. Just toss them on a sheet pan and bake them at 425°F for about 20 minutes. You can also sauté sunchokes in oil over medium-high heat until they're golden brown and crispy on each side for a quick and healthy side dish.

How to Store Sunchokes

Sunchokes tend to have lots of moisture, which can cause them to bruise easily. To prevent browning and bruising during storage, wrap them in paper towels and store in a plastic bag. Refrigerate sunchokes for up to one week.

Peeled sunchokes can quickly oxidize. Prevent browning by soaking peeled sunchokes in some warm lemon water before storing or using.

The Bottom Line

The sunchoke is a great winter vegetable that's versatile and delicious. Packed with inulin, sunchokes may help improve digestion, regulate blood sugar levels and more. With so many ways to cook it this winter, you'll want to run to try this super tuber.

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