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 start hitting the farmer’s markets in November. That early in the season, the other way to keep the wind down is to make pickled sunchokes. You don’t end up eating huge amounts of sunchokes this way, although I have with no ill effects.
This sunchoke recipe itself is a nod to the Moroccan style of pickles, which is strongly spiced and often sweet. It will also work with cucumbers, carrots, parsnips and parsley root, if you happen to be growing parsley root.
Pickled sunchokes are a great addition to a larger pickle plate, or an array of cured meats, and they are nice to just munch on when you are drinking beer and watching football. Or whatever.
And it’s a good side dish to go with Middle Eastern stews and couscous. Try it alongside my recipe for Venison Stew Tunisian.
- 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.