Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jerusalem artichoke

So what exactly is the difference between a globe artichoke and a Jerusalem artichoke?

Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), also called sunchokes, are the tubers of a flower in the aster family. They are not related to regular artichokes at all. They are roots/tubers, and look a little like ginger root, and are starchy like potatoes.

The jerusalem artichoke is native to North America and was cultivated here by Native

Americans. Samuel de Champlain is credited with sending it over to England in the early 1600's where it was called "Canada" or "French" potato. The French continued to cultivate the plant.

It has been a turn too food during times of famine or desperation.

During World War II it grew in popularity because it was a food item that could be purchased without ration stamps.

In addition to being a food item it is also used to produce alcohol in Germany called "Topinambur", "Topi" or "Rossler".

It was associated early with Leprosy and was not a common thing to eat.

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