Jerusalem artichoke tubers have a thin skin and therefore dry out quickly and easily and become lethargic. Therefore, unlike potatoes, they can only be stored for a few weeks. After digging, the tubers should be stored only at positive temperatures, it is best to wrap them in newspaper, and then put them in a plastic bag and store in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator at a temperature of + 1 + 2 ° C.
Jerusalem artichoke tubers were harvested 16, 18 and 20 weeks after planting. With a longer growth in them, the content of more polymerized inulin fractions decreased and the amount of free fructose and sucrose increased. The same was observed during storage at +2 and + 5 ° C. At a temperature of -18 ° C, that is, during freezing, the chemical composition did not change.
Jerusalem artichoke in cooking
The taste of the tubers is sweetish, slightly nutty, the consistency of the tuber is watery (moisture content is up to 80%), it tastes like the bottom of an artichoke. Tubers can be used both fresh in salads, and boiled in salted water, like potatoes, baked in the oven, they can be deep-fried, cut into strips, you can make mashed potatoes from them. Juice can be squeezed out of the tubers. Fried until golden brown in chips, they can be used as sweets.
A particularly important ingredient in tubers is inulin, which, when hydrolyzed, produces fructose, which is 2 times sweeter than our regular sugar (sucrose). It is an essential food for diabetics. Its content in tubers is maximal immediately after the harvest is dug, but gradually decreases during storage. The protein content is 2-3%. Proteins contain almost all of the essential amino acids such as tryptophan. Tubers contain betaine, choline, saponins and are currently considered as a cancer prevention agent.
100 g of Jerusalem artichoke contain 3 mg of sodium, 478 mg of potassium (which is important for the heart and people who use diuretics), calcium - 10 mg, magnesium - 20 mg, phosphorus - 78 mg, iron - 3.7 mg, zinc - 60 μg , copper - 0.15 mcg. Total mineral substances contain about 1.74 mg.
100 g of tubers contains 200 mcg of vitamin B1, 60 mcg - B2, 60 mcg - B5, 90 mcg - B6 and a little some others. Since the 19th century, distillates have been prepared on the basis of Jerusalem artichoke, in general, something like vodka. As an aperitif, Jerusalem artichoke schnapps are sold in Germany under the names "Topinambur", "Topi", "Erdapfler", "Rossler" or "Borbel". By the way, it is quite pleasant, has a fruity and nutty aroma, a characteristic rich taste, which tasters define as earthy. If stored poorly and if stored for too long, the product acquires an unpleasant aftertaste. So when buying, pay attention to the date of manufacture and store the product in the refrigerator or at least in the dark.
Jerusalem artichoke vodka is refined with the help of various additives. For example, they insist on the roots of galangal or, scientifically, Potentilla erect, and sell it under the name "Roten Rossler". It is used as a home remedy for indigestion and poor digestion. Also as an aperitif to stimulate digestion. The strength of this drink is 40-45%. And, by the way, in Germany 90% of all Jerusalem artichoke turns into this product, and not into chips and mashed potatoes. Jerusalem artichoke has a certain value as a raw material for the production of fructose.At the beginning of the 20th century, this production was abandoned due to the high cost, but as technology developed, they returned to it. As a result of hydrolysis of inulin, a high fructose corn syrup is obtained, a product containing a lot of fructose.
Jerusalem artichoke for animals
Jerusalem artichoke has always been appreciated as food for farm animals. Together with a close view Helianthus maximilianii, it is still used in the United States as a forage plant, as an additive in horse and small animal feed. Wild Jerusalem artichoke is eagerly eaten by wild animals (wild boars, rabbits, muskrats and moles), digging up tubers mostly in spring and autumn.
Alternative energy subject
In recent years, Jerusalem artichoke has another mission. In the heat of the fight against nuclear energy, Europe is looking for alternative resources, and above all sources for the production of biogas from renewable sources. Jerusalem artichoke turned out to be one of the objects on which certain hopes are pinned. The aerial part of the plant (which is very large and fast-growing), as well as the tubers, serve as raw materials for the production of bioethanol. Jerusalem artichoke is grown in a perennial culture, mowing the aboveground mass, and when the plantation is destroyed, tubers are already used. In this case, the tubers must be frozen, which promotes the activation of inulase and, accordingly, the conversion of inulin into simple sugars. From the above-ground part of Jerusalem artichoke from 1 hectare (about 30 tons), you can get 8140 cubic meters of biogas, which is only 10% less than that of fodder corn. From tubers from 1 hectare, 2,150 cubic meters of biogas is obtained.
Medicinal and dietary properties
And, finally, about the medical, probably still more correct to say - the dietary use of Jerusalem artichoke. It is noted that in areas where Jerusalem artichoke is systematically consumed in food, the incidence of diabetes in the population is 3 times lower than the national average. In addition, it is a good prophylactic agent for cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, at present there are a large number of dietary supplements and functional products for diabetics based on Jerusalem artichoke tubers.
Inulin cannot be quickly converted into rapidly absorbed sugars and therefore is a kind of ballast in the intestines. Fermentation of this compound begins only in the large intestine. True, its digestion for many causes an unpleasant feeling of fermentation and rumbling. With regular use of Jerusalem artichoke, bifidobacteria begin to feel better in the intestines, the number of lactoflora increases and the content of lipids in the blood decreases. Jerusalem artichoke has a laxative, stimulating, choleretic, diuretic effect, sometimes used for rheumatism.
Eating Jerusalem artichoke prevents constipation, has a preventive effect in the large intestine and rectum and removes toxins, promotes the absorption of nutrients, and stimulates the immune system.
Interestingly, many sources indicate two more of its properties - to stimulate spermatogenesis, which is important in infertility, and oncoprotective effect.
How to use it? You can use dietary supplements, but, probably, nature nevertheless created us not for eating pills and capsules, it is much tastier to cook Jerusalem artichoke salad with dill seeds and lemon balm or Jerusalem artichoke puree with spices. And as often as possible. Delicate pickles are obtained from Jerusalem artichoke (Delicacy Jerusalem artichoke with carrots and lemon).
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Onion pancakes with Jerusalem artichoke
In homeopathy, Jerusalem artichoke is used as a weight loss aid that suppresses hunger and, accordingly, an irresistible urge to visit the kitchen and climb into the refrigerator. Pills and cocktails are made from it, which are taken with meals.