The Jerusalem artichoke, also called the sun root, sun choke or earth apple is a species of sunflower native
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to eastern North America. It is also cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable.
It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1.5–3 metres tall with opposite leaves on the lower part of the stem. The flowers are yellow. The tubers are elongated and uneven and vaguely resembling ginger root, with a crisp texture when raw. They vary in color from pale brown to white, red or purple.
Despite its name, the Jerusalem artichoke has no relation to Jerusalem, and it is not a type of artichoke, though both are members of the daisy family. The origin of the name is uncertain. Italian settlers in the USA called the plant girasole, the Italian word for sunflower, because of its resemblance to the garden sunflower. Over time, the name girasole may have been changed to Jerusalem.
The artichoke part of the Jerusalem artichoke’s name comes from the taste of its edible tuber. Samuel de Champlain, the French explorer, sent the first samples of the plant to France, noting its taste was similar to an artichoke. Our Chef has used the ingredient of the week in this delicious dish:
Spier Pasture-Reared Chicken with Pine Ring and Black Garlic Purée, Jerusalem Artichokes and Dill