What’s in Season: January – Jerusalem Artichoke

This vegetable, Helianthus tuberosus, is not truly an artichoke but a variety of sunflower with a lumpy, brown-skinned tuber that often resembles a ginger root. Contrary to what the name implies, this vegetable has nothing to do with Jerusalem but it’s name might have been derived from the Italian word for sunflower, girasole.

Before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans cultivated Jerusalem Artichoke as a food source. The tubers persist for years after being planted, so that the species expanded its range from central North America to the eastern and western regions.

The white flesh of this vegetable is nutty, sweet and crunchy and is a good source of iron.

Jerusalem artichokes can be cooked in much the same way as potatoes or parsnips and are excellent roasted, sautéed or dipped in batter and fried, or puréed to make a delicious soup.



  • 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 900g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and sliced
  • 900ml vegetable
  • 30g chives, washed and roughly chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan; add the onion and garlic and gently sauté.
  • When the onion has softened after about 5 minutes, add the Jerusalem artichokes and stock and stir well.
  • Bring the contents to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the butternut is soft.
  • Blend the soup with a hand-held blender or in a food processor.
  • Season to taste and serve in four bowls and sprinkle with the herbs.

Every month we feature a fruit or vegetable that is in season, along with a fun fact or recipe idea. We are currently working on a project, ACT4CAP, highlighting the importance of citizen involvement in agricultural policy to ensure healthy food and protection of our agricultural land. This project is a continuation of our previous work that was done through the Citizen’s CAP project and Agrokatina.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This article reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This project is co-financed by the  Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) and the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisation.

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