Friday, June 29, 2007

J is for Jerusalem artichokes, roasted.

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I returned to the market to buy more jerusalem artichokes, or “sunchokes” as they are sometimes called. My friend Emma came along. “You do know these things are evil?” she said. “They can give you the most appalling wind.” On the blog,David commented,“Seriously...use with caution”. As with the warnings about horseradish I thought I knew better. I made roasted artichokes with rosemary. They were sweet and subtle tasting. Freddie devoured them.
We went to see Alexandra acting in a school production of “Romeo and Juliet.” It was during the second half that the trouble began. The action on stage became more intense, the theatre quietened. My husband turned to me and whispered in my ear, “I think I’m going to give birth.” Freddie sniggered. I could feel these griping pains build up. This is what it must be like to be a colicky baby.
The walk home was bracing. I had been warned. There is a reason why these vegetables are known as fartichokes. The cause is something indigestible called inulin. In 1621 the writer John Goodyer wrote, “…in my judgement, which way soever they be drest and eaten they stir up and cause a filthie loathsome stinking winde with the bodie, thereby causing the belly to bee much pained and tormented…. more fit for swine, than men.” The last bit is a bit harsh. Wind is a small price to pay for the enjoyment of Jerusalem artichokes.


  1. schmoofaloof11:18 AM

    Ahhh hahahaa!

    Gosh. I thought i heard about gale force winds around west London...

    I don't know what they taste like, but are they curry-able? If so then you can add a pinch of asafoetida powder, commonly added to curries made with pulses to get rid of this windy problem.

  2. My fiance and I love it when the Jerusalem Artichokes come in our organic vegtable box.

    We nearly always make a soup out of them, sliced with just some celery, and onion.

    They have their notorious windy effect (which is more noisy than noxious, I have found). However, we were told by a friend that a Bay leaf in the soup stops this side effect, and on the whole we've found that to be true.

  3. hee hee!!!

    I used to grow Jerusalem Artichokes in my veg garden. The tubers were large and looked appetising - but after a week when I was, like Mr Goodyer, "much pained and tormented" I left them alone! The undisturbed tubers multiplied and were set to march across the garden! So last autumn I dug them up and they were taken away in the council compostable waste truck - hurray! But ... they're back - the tinyest fragment of tuber can regrow. Like the Daikon and the Horesradish it's a veg with sinister powers.


  4. What a funny story! new experiences are like a breath of fresh air! or not in the case of Jerusalem artichoke!
    Sara from farmingfriends

  5. I don't eat them anymore for that very reason! But then I love most veggies so it's not much of a loss.

  6. TexasTitch5:04 PM

    Sorry, Charlotte, I can’t help sniggering at your family’s discomfort during the play! Lol! Jerusalem artichokes are some of my favourite vegetables, but they do have rather drastic side effects, especially if one pigs out on them. Many years ago, we brought my MIL some Jerusalem artichokes we had grown in our garden. At my suggestion, she served them for supper in a white sauce made with some whisky [or was it gin?] that had been accidentally diluted with white wine. The resulting dish was superb, if a little boozey, and they were gobbled down in no time. That night we all paid big time for our gluttony! My OH told me he hardly slept a wink as he had turned into a gas factory and just lay there producing gas, and my MIL very delicately mentioned that she “wouldn’t be eating those again!”

    Jerusalem artichokes make divine soups too. Don’t drink too much in one sitting! ;)

  7. I warned you alright! Me and Helen's first experience was hilarious at first - a bit like a childish f*rting competition. After 1 hour of noxiousnous and feeling sick with the smell, the joke became an old one. What a shame as they are lush! I love them roasted.

    When I was cooking them on MasterChef for my winter salad, John and Gregg started commenting on their gas producing abilities. John reckoned a glass of milk worked. Give it a go.

    Top story


  8. In my family, the stories of a car ride home after dining on cream of jerusalem artichoke soup are legend. hehehehehe. But they are still so good!

  9. Red in the face1:21 AM

    Oh my goodness. I've never laughed so hard reading a blog, and then the previous comments just kept the laughter coming...

    Hoo boy... I'll be ok in a few minutes, hopefully.

  10. Anonymous2:20 PM

    Vicky said ......
    Just take a couple of bentonite tablets before you eat J A and you'll be OK. You can eat them to your heart's content.

  11. Anonymous1:25 AM

    I'm up all night waiting till the gas subsides so i can go to sleep after eating ONE roasted Jerusalem artichoke from last year's garden, Never Again!


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