Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)

You know, if there were to be a competition for the most oxymoron of a name of all the vegetables and fruits, I bet Jerusalem artichokes will win the first prize! No competition whatsoever! Why do I say that: well for one, no, they are not artichokes and for two, no they are not native of Jerusalem either. I mean why would something that is not Jerusalem native nor an artichoke be named Jerusalem artichokes?!

Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, as they have been known recently, are tubers of a sunflower family tree. Sunchokes are native to the eastern side of the northern america. The tree produces bright yellow sunflower like flowers and these delicious tubers. The tubers to me look like ginger roots or the arbi found in India.

So whats with the name you ask? Well, the theory goes (sources: here and here) that sunchokes were being cultivated by native americans long before the Europeans came over. The great French traveler Samuel de Champlain brought back the sunchokes from america to Europe during one of his visits to the states. In his opinion they tasted more like artichokes; so he brings back to Europe the sort of potatoes that he feels are 'artichoke' testing which is what gave them that artichoke part of the name. From there on the sunchokes traveled to Italy where they are believed to be named 'girasole' meaning 'turning to sun' alluring to the fact of that these tubers come from the sunflower trees. The name 'girasole', it is widely believed, was later corrupted into 'Jerusalem'. So, there, now you know why something that wasn't from Jerusalem and isn't an artichoke is still called Jerusalem artichokes. As far as I go, I prefer the name sunchokes much better because every-time I say sunchokes I dream of a sunny day and vast ranging sunflower fields and happiness :)
To me the sunchokes tasted like a cross between water-chestnuts, apples and potatoes. When fresh they are crunchy like water-chestnuts, slightly sweet like apples and starchy like potatoes. I beg to differ with the great Samuel de Champlain, but no, to me, they did not taste like artichokes at-all :)

Here are some ways you can use them:
  1. Roast or saute them as shown below.
  2. Make a sabji like the arbi sabji.
  3. Make a soup like a potato soup.
  4. Eat raw or slightly cooked in salads or stir-frys.
Today I give you a simple roasted sunchokes recipe, adapted from this Jamie Oliver recipe. Next time I am going to surely try them in some stir-frys because I later realized I liked their crunchiness better uncooked than when they were cooked..

Source: Adapted from Jamie Oliver recipe here
6 medium sized Jerusalem artichokes
1Tbsp oil
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/8tsp thyme
lime juice
salt & pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. 
  2. Mix Jerusalem artichokes with rest of the ingredients and roast for 15minutes.
  3. Increase heat to 425F, stir the artichokes so they browned evenly and roast on an upper oven rack for another 15minutes
  4. Sprinkle with lime juice and eat warm.
I am sending these sunchokes to Yasmeen for Weekend herb blogging #225, brainchild of Kalyn and hosted this week by Yasmeen.


  1. PJ I like the way you introduce these 'new' vegetables. And the bowl of goodness looks fantastic too.
    I don't alwasy like water chestnuts, I tolerate them in Chinese fried rice. I like the looks of this tuber though. I'll shoud give it one try. What do you say?

  2. Yes, I do agree that sunchokes sounds
    Never tried this before.Sounds simple and from the taste you described, I'll like them :-)

  3. looks delightful! i have never tasted them, use only the canned artichokes for pasta, etc. but would luv to try this recipe if i come across them!!

  4. Thats a lovely and a new dish with a new vegetable...never heard of this one but thanks to you i got to know abt it too...thanks for sharing, its so easy to make as well...

  5. Sunchokes or even suntuber would be an appropriate naming! I have seen in farmers market but never knew how to cook!
    Now I want to taste....

  6. Indo, try it definitely if you can! they are delicious and very versatile. Very much like arbi of India (just not that sticky). Since they are natives of eastern US, I am sure it will be easier to find on east coast than on west.

    Gulmohar, isn't sunchokes the better name :) marketing messups, see ;)

    R, definitely try them if you find them. In CA its a bit hard to find (farmers market stock it until winter months) but they are delicious.

    Sushma, oh yeah, they are really easy and so very delicious. Definitely try them if you find them around.

    Cham, i have seen them in CA farmers market too.. they are so delicious.. prepare them anyway you would prepare arbi.. they look to me like arbi on steroids :D

  7. Never tried it b4, but yeah I agree...sunchokes sounds better & familiar too..liked the way you mentioned about it..

  8. Looks more like ginger root. Never heard of this veggie before. Will try to find this in The dish looks awesome. Thanks for the info.

  9. PJ,why you are tempting me with your new new dishes!looks sooo delicious!

  10. A2Z vegetarian cuisine, I think it must be a marketing flaw to not name them sunchokes, don't you think :) Thanks, I am so glad you liked the post.

    Latha, yeah, it does look like ginger roots. Do try it if you find it nearby, they are delicious.

    Shahana, heh heh, thanks, I am so glad you liked the sunchokes.

  11. This is so delicious...tempting to try this..

  12. Dear,
    This veggie looks like a ginger to me. But I am amazed its not. That baked bowl-of-goodness looks very very inviting.

  13. very new to me..although i do get the regular them..

  14. OMG! you're giving a very hard lessons on World's vegetables and fruits. :D You should open a class where all the veges and fruits are being presented, tried n tasted. ;):D

    Great info PJ! *bow* :)

  15. Nithu, thanks! I am so glad you liked it. yeah, try it definitely if you find sunchokes anywhere closeby.

    Cool Lassi(e), yes, it does look a lot like ginger, doesn't it! glad you liked it.

    SE, i love regular artichokes too. loved your pasta recipe. These are more like potatoes/apples/water-chestnuts.

    Sonia, heh heh, no, i just have this weird habit of picking up anything that is new to me.. glad you liked it though :)

  16. Very interesting post! I have never tasted these but now I am intrigued.

  17. I wanna taste those tangy sunchokes...I have to get them from farmers market soon :)

  18. Sunchokes sounds definitely better and loved the way you mentioned it...and the baked ones look really delicious...

  19. Nupur, thanks! They are really delicious.. I liked them better raw than cooked, next time I might add them to stir-frys or noodles..

    Preeti, you definitely should, they are really versatile. Grab them if you find them in your farmers markets :)

    Rachana, isn't sunchokes the better of the two names :) glad you liked them.

  20. Looks lovely n delicious,,i never tried this recipe yet ,,sure will try this soon ur version,,,thanks for sharing such a lovely veggie with good facts,,take care n keep smiling dear,,

  21. you have posted so many wonderful recipes in the recent past n i'll be checking out all of them in detail later ...
    this veggie look interesting and i am sure it tasted great as i have tried some Jamie Oliver recipes n know it suits my taste well.....
    simply wonderful !!!

  22. Just commented on SE's post mentioning never had Artichokes and I find similar stuffs here !

    Nice info about them, never tried or seen them though !

  23. THis is new to me..sounds wonderful!!

  24. Wow what a coincidence.. I made dish out of artichoke yesterday and today ur posting sunchokes. Actually I saw this vegetable in the farmers market when I was in LA and i remember they said different name for this but anyways the dish looks too tempting and i can feel the crunchiness in it. Wonderful PJ... I am jealous of u that ur enjoying farmers market near by you(hey just kidding). Whenever I visit ur space, I badly miss the market. Waiting for summer in MN to enjoy the farmers market.

  25. Sathya, thanks! I am so glad you liked the recipe :)

    Sangeeta, so nice to see you back! I know, I love all of Jamie Oliver recipes too.. I liked his new book.

    Kanchan, thanks! I know it must be telepathish if two or more blogger on the same day post about the same ingredient :D

    Sarah, thanks! I am so glad you liked it.

    Pavithra, aha, look forward to your artichoke recipes then! Don't worry, MN farmer's markets should start soon now that the spring is approaching. Thanks so much for your nice words :)

  26. Never had them before' thanks for this informative post' will try them for sure:)

  27. The world of veggies u bring to us with ur posts and pics and write ups is wonderful...would love to look for Jerusalem-artichokes next time we go shopping and would love to have 'em lightly steamed stir fried in olive oil with ur recipe....
    delicious picture...

  28. Me too thought this to be ginger at first,love to try such unusual foods,thanks for the entry :D

  29. Malar, thanks, you should definitely try them if you find them around. they are tasty and a bit of new thing from same old potatoes :)

    Mia, thanks so much for your sweet words :) I do hope you find some sunchokes near you, they are so unique!

    Yasmeen, thanks for hosting the event. I am so glad you liked the entry and the info about sunchokes.

  30. I've always wondered where Jerusalem artichokes got their name from...thanks for telling me. I've also never had them but based on your description, I really need to give them a shot. Great recipe!

  31. Very informative post .I have never seen or tried this though have heard of this vegetable.Thanks for sharing

  32. PJ I remember you introduced another green-potato-star like something (just woke up;)

    This looks like Ginger actually..But I dont like water chestnuts in rice dishes or salads but if it is gonna taste like potato why not ;)

  33. Joanne, its an amazing story isn't it how they got their name :) Do try it definitely if you see them around.

    Padhu, thanks! I am so glad you liked the post.

    Ruchika, heh heh, happens to me all the time, thats why i have a big pot of coffee sitting next to me (even right now!). yeah, that was romanescos. the crunchiness is very like water-chestnuts, flavor is more like an apple=potato mix.

  34. I really need to find out where I would get artichokes here in Pune..this looks so good and the info has intrigued me a will have to find a local name also if any...great clicks PJ..

  35. I think I'm too late to write up more on this new stuff, everyone has said it..intresting never tried it..looks great

  36. Preety, thanks! I am so glad you liked it.

    Deepa, you might get the real artichokes canned or frozen. Even in US, fresh artichokes are only available in springtime, otherwise its usually just canned or frozen. Sunchokes might be a bit more difficult to find though.

    Jagruti, thanks! I am so glad you liked it.

  37. Looks very nice, simple and delicious.

  38. Dear PJ, it's been a while that I'm kinda ir-regular with blogging stuff.....but today I found that U got a new hair cut, looks good on U....moving to new house(your own right..)Congratulations & finally love the details on Jerusalem Artichoke....i'll look for these now...


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