I have a love-hate relationship with sunchokes: I love their taste and crunch, but hate the explosive gas I get from them if I eat too many. Yeah, never heard of that? It’s pretty awesome, especially at dinner parties.
There are ways to minimize or even eliminate the Great Fartichoke Problem. First and foremost is to dig up your jerusalem artichokes after several frosts — after a mid-winter thaw is perfect — as the indigestible (read farty) starch inulin within the tuber slowly converts to fructose, a sugar we all know, love… and can digest.
But jerusalem artichokes are hitting the farmer’s markets and stores now. So the other way to keep the wind down is to make this sweet and spicy pickle recipe. You don’t end up eating huge amounts of sunchokes this way, although I have with no ill effects. The recipe itself is a nod to the Moroccan style of pickles, which is strongly spiced and often sweet.
This is a great addition to a pickle plate, and it is perfect to just munch on when you are drinking beer and watching football. Or whatever. It’s also a perfect side dish to go with Middle Eastern stews and coucous. Try it alongside my recipe for Venison Stew Tunisian.
Pickled Jerusalem Artichokes
The key to crunchy pickles is to use small pieces, like 1/2 inch or smaller. If you try to pickle them larger the middle of them will be soft and icky, not crunchy.
If you want to use fresh turmeric root, look in Whole Foods or at Middle Eastern markets. I’ve made it with powdered turmeric too, and it’s just as good.
Makes 3 quarts, and the recipe can be halved.
Prep Time: 30 minutes, not including brining time.
Cook Time: 30 minutes, including canning time.
- 2 to 3 pounds sunchokes (choose small ones if possible)
- Juice of 2 to3 lemons
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup kosher or pickling salt
- 2 tablespoons turmeric, or 1 large fresh turmeric root, sliced
- 4 cups cider vinegar
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 to 2 cups sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
- 2 tablespoons mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon chile flakes or 1 dried chile per quart
- 1 clove per quart
- 1 bay leaf per quart
- Cut jerusalem artichokes into 1/2 inch pieces and put any cut pieces into a bowl of water with the lemon juice in it — they will discolor otherwise. When you have them all cut, mix the 4 cups water, 1 tablespoon of the turmeric (or the sliced fresh turmeric root) and the 1/4 cup salt. This is your brine. Brine the sunchokes overnight, about 8 to 12 hours.
- To make the pickling liquid, mix the vinegar, sugar, 1 cup water, the rest of the turmeric (if you are not using fresh turmeric root), mustard seed, dry mustard, chiles, cloves and bay leaves (basically everything else) and bring to a boil. Stir well and let it cool to room temperature.
- Get your hot water bath ready if you plan to can these. Skip this if you plan on keeping the pickles in the fridge.
- Fish out a chile, clove and bay leaf from the pickling liquid and put one in each jar.
- Rinse the sunchokes well, then pack into jars. Cover with the cooled vinegar mixture. Make sure to leave at least 1/4 inch of headspace if you are canning. Process in a hot water bath for 10 to 15 minutes. Wait at least a week before eating.