We plan to give you a seasonal recipe a month highlighting what’s in season each month and what you can cook with it. So let’s start with a February veg favourite of Season Well: Jerusalem Artichokes
It’s not an artichoke and it’s not from Jerusalem. These are actually grown on an allotment near Harrogate which we support a learning disability charity to manage. They are a tuber so grow underground and look like a knobbly potato. They got their name because they are thought to taste a bit like artichoke. The plant is part of the sunflower family and the Italian for sunflower is Girasole (follow sun) which sounds a bit like Jerusalem so hence the name.
The plant grows very tall so is good to grow as a windbreak which is what we planted them for on our windy site. They are also so easy to grow. Once you have planted a few tubers in spring they need very little looking after. They grow tall stems and have small flowers in summer. They then die back and are ready to dig up in the depths of winter when little else is growing. I have developed a love for their nutty flavour.
The tubers are very good for you as they contain iron, vitamin c and potassium. They also have a prebiotic effect in the gut due to the high levels of a carbohydrate called inulin. This promotes growth of good bacteria in the gut which fight harmful bacteria in the intestines, prevent constipation, and give the immune system a boost. Inulin is also thought to regulate blood sugar
Unfortunately whilst they may reduce wind on the allotment they can increase wind in your bowels. They are nicknamed “fartichokes” for the windy effect they have on some people. The good news is that the more you eat the more your body can tolerate them and the less windy you become. It also affects some people more than others.
As they are so good for you, easy to grow and so very tasty give them a go.
One of our favourite ways to cook them with our allotment group is in this delicious soup recipe. Here we mix them with leeks which are also in season this month. If you want to be super healthy you can sprout a few alfalfa or pea seeds ( or any microgreens) and serve the soup with a little sprinkling on top.
Please comment if you’d like some seed sprouting instructions or any other artichoke recipes. We’ve also made artichoke cake in other years and this year intend to try an artichoke pickle as pickling or fermenting is suposed to reduce their windiness
Leek, potato & Jerusalem artichoke Soup
Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large leeks, sliced
1 onion, chopped
300g Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed & roughly chopped
300 g potatoes, peeled and chopped
1.2 litre veg stock
2 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
A little nutmeg, freshly grated
Salt & pepper
Handful of microgreens ( pea shoots, basil shoots, alfalfa sprouts)
A little cream for swirling ( we use Nooj cashew cream to keep it vegan)
- Wash the artichokes and scrub well with a brush.Then roughly chop them.
Put the artichokes in a pan, cover with boiling water and leave to simmer on a low heat whilst you do the rest of the prep
- Wash and slice the leeks. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic
- Peel the potatoes,if using, and chop into small pieces. You can make the soup with all jerusalem artichokes (600g) if you prefer. It will be a darker colour and stonger flavour. We have done it both ways and like the addition of some ptoatoes to lighten the soup
- add the olive oil to a large nonstick saucepan and lightly fry the leeks, onion and garlic for a few minutes.Then add the cubed potaotes and fry for a few minutes more.
- Drain the water off the artichokes and add to the pan along with the stock, bay leaf and sprig of rosemary
- Leave to simmer on a low-mediumheat for 20-30 minutes or until the artichokes are soft.
- Remove the bay leaf and rosemary stalk and blend the soup to the consistency you like. You can blend it totally smooth or leave some chunks
- Serve in bowls with a swirl of cream (or vegan alternative: Nooj or soy cream) and a few micro greens.
Enjoy your healthy seasonal soup.