Why are Jerusalem artichokes so mouthwateringly delicious with their sweet nutty taste and yet so intestinally challenging? The answer is that they have a very high inulin content, an extremely effective prebiotic that is indigestible to humans but very popular with your good gut bacteria. They’re also a fantastic source of potassium and iron, regulating and managing a healthy flow of fluids in your body.
So is there a way to enjoy them without suffering the gaseous consequence? Yes there is, hurray! If you cook the artichokes in lemon juice or add plenty of lemon juice to the dish containing them, the inulin is partially broken down before it reaches your digestive system, giving the bacteria plenty to feed off but not enough to cause havoc.
The Acid Test: Spaghetti with Sardines and Jerusalem Artichokes
I chopped half a fennel, one red pepper and three good sized artichokes into a pan with olive oil from a tin of sardines and a sprinkle of fennel seeds and cooked them on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, turning every now and then. Slice up some kale, reasonably fine and chop the sardines to crumbs. When you feel the ingredients have a little colour and are melding together in the pan, add half a glass of white wine and let it reduce off the alcohol. Toss in the kale and sardines and the zest of a lemon. Put a lid on for five minutes to cook the kale and then squeeze on the juice of a whole lemon. Stir into spaghetti, add black pepper and twizzle your fork for a delicious mouthful with no after effects!