Shelby Vittek - writing for TableMatters.com - used to run a supermarket but never saw anyone buy a Jersusalem artichoke, also known as a sunchoke.
"But the knobby, gnarly tuber is not an artichoke, "Vittek writes. "And it doesn't come from Jerusalem. It's actually the root of a sunflower plant, resembles a knob of ginger, tastes like a nuttier, sweeter, less-starchy potato, and is native to North America. Its embarrassing nickname — the fartichoke, derived from its rumored unpleasant digestive side effects — hasn't exactly helped the vegetable's image either."
Jonathan Deutsch, who teaches a culinary improvisation class at Drexel University, recently assigned his students to develop sunchoke recipes for Harris Cutler, president of Race-West, a produce distributor in Clarks Summit, Pa.
"It's kind of like a potato," said Deutsch. "When it's puréed, sunchoke has a bit more flavor and doesn't have that gooiness mashed potatoes have, but in terms of starch, you can use it in any way."