My sunchokes arrived by way of Vermont today from Pete’s Greens. I’m starting to hold these tubers with the same affection I have for potatoes. They may have an earthy acquired flavor, but I believe the tremendous joy they bring to my digestive system has flipped a switch, the microbes are starting to file requests, and I crave them. I’ve been probing for local(ish) sources ever since my cache ran out this winter.
They’re very easy to grow but you need a solid storage system. Well, it doesn’t have to be perfect, actually. The place I used to live I’d store mine in an unheated front porch entryway and a few times they froze solid. I thought they’d be gonners in the way potatoes don’t survive a hard freeze but they were fine!
A checkout line chat sharing praise for sunchokes, concluded with my neighbor declaring sunchokes an ideal zombie apocalypse food. She’s right, they’re a (native) perennial staple food that grows easily and benefits from being harvested. Not to mention a viable summertime privacy screen if you’re looking to stack functions. I finally got some in the ground last fall and their little leafy heads poking out of the ground this spring makes me feel tucked in and safe. Thanks sunchokes.
Last week in class we were exploring the gut microbiome and the new wave of methods to test for specific strains and imbalances. The vastness of villages, improbable cooperation, and micro-dramas playing out inside of us is astounding. There are more bacteria bodies inside me than stars in the milky way and we barely “know” anything about it.
Frankly, studying the microbiome is overwhelming. It’s so fresh and new and there’s constant revisioning, but certain things are clear. We know that some of the species that do good deeds in our colon just adore inulin. And guess what?! Sunchokes are loaded with inulin. Get down with sunchokes and you’ll go a long way to befriend your digestive system.
My parents grow them and slice them up like chips in their air fryer. It has almost convinced me to get an air fryer. I don’t know why diners don't sell these chips across the country instead of fries. Someone start a petition please.
This week's menu includes a sunchoke dip with local flavors, those flatbreads you all love reimagined, and mushroom wild rice burgers are making a come back, now egg-free. Get that fiber!
Carly lives and eats from a hilltop in Cummington, Massachsuetts and part time in Schenectady, NY.