Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem Artichokes, are a tasty vegetable that pack a punch. They can be very gassy. I knew that from previous experience, so I researched them before adding them to my roasted vegetables last night.
Sunchokes contain inulin – a type of carbohydrate that is a derivative of fructose. We don’t have the digestive enzymes for this, and foods that we can’t digest cause gas. There is nothing unhealthy about the gas – but in the case of sunchokes it can be pretty extreme and very uncomfortable.
The source I mention below says that sunchokes are “three times as farty as any bean”.
Sunchokes can be eaten raw, pickled, roasted or stewed and have a nutty flavor. I figured that cooking them would help reduce the gas problem, and that using a small amount would help. AND we took a probiotic (a pill with friendly bacteria like acidophilis) – which I find very helpful with digesting beans.
Well, it didn’t help. The one sunchoke that I added to our roasted winter vegetables still made for a miserable night.
Looking a little further, I found an interesting posting that offers a way to process the vegetable. Referencing the Curious Cook by Harold McGee, this writer says that if you slice the tubers and boil them for 15 minutes with cream of tarter or lemon juice, or bake them in a 200 degree F oven for 24 hours, it will convert the indigestible carbohydrate into fructose.
Storage also helps because over time the starches naturally convert to fructose. While there is a way, I’m not sure that I want these that much. What have you done that’s worked!
Note: it seems like some people are more affected by these vegetables than others. Also, inulin is often added to foods as a source of fiber (indigestible carbohydrate) or to support friendly bacteria. These are small amounts that we can generally tolerate just fine. With the sunchoke it is a matter of volume!
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