When foods are consumed that have a positive effect on health and go beyond basic nutrition they are called “functional foods”. As I am sure you can imagine there are many but today I would like to introduce you to a relatively obscure one.
Meet the Jerusalem Artichoke. These little fellas may not be the prettiest of vegetables but as a functional food they are beautiful!
Jerusalem artichokes, sometimes referred to as sunchokes, are root vegetables. They can be eaten either cooked or raw. When cooked they have a creamy texture similar to potatoes. Eaten raw their taste is comparable to the taste of a water chestnut.
So let’s take a look at some of their health benefits. Jerusalem artichokes are a very good source of minerals and electrolytes, especially potassium, iron, and copper. They contain small amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins C, A and E. And 100 g contain approximately 3.4 mg of iron.
But perhaps the greatest health benefit of Jerusalem artichokes lies in their prebiotic function. These root vegetables contain a non-digestible soluble fiber called inulin. Inulin belongs to a class of compounds called fructans. And inulin feeds our good gut bacteria greatly enhancing our intestinal health. And when cancer is considered, or any disease for that matter, the gut must always be addressed.
This is a super tasty soup, that is easy to make and full of function!
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
3 TBSP butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
½ tsp. salt & pepper
500 grams Jerusalem Artichokes, peeled and halved
Pinch of chili pepper (optional)
1 liter of chicken broth
5 fresh sage leaves
- Melt butter in a soup pot
- Add garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Cook until softened.
- Add Jerusalem Artichokes, chili pepper (if using), chicken broth and sage leaves.
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes until artichokes have softened.
- With a hand or stand up blender, puree soup and serve.