What does a sunchoke taste like?
Choose sunchokes that are very firm and smooth. Some say they taste like artichoke hearts. Others say they are rather sweet and nutty. They have a texture like a potato and are creamy when cooked.
How do you eat sunchokes?
Keep in mind, the flesh of the sunchoke turns brown, like apples or pears, when exposed to air. Mix with chopped raw vegetables and a tiny bit of lemon juice, should you plan on them sitting out for awhile. Like kohlrabi and jicama, you can eat this vegetable either raw or cooked.
Ideas for using these include:
How nutritious are sunchokes?
Sunchokes are rich in iron, potassium and thiamine. One cup of sliced sunchokes contains three grams of protein. They are also a good source of copper, niacin and vitamin C. (1) This vegetable is high in inulin, a “prebiotic” soluble fiber, which may help control your blood sugar. (2) This inulin can also cause gas. To avoid this, some say to use sunchokes that have been through a frost and others say to be sure to use lemon juice when you cook them. (3) Try each method and let me know what works for you!
Since we have eaten them, in the dish highlighted below, we are now discussing where to plant them in our garden in the spring.
The recipe below may seem lengthy, but it’s fairly straightforward and full of flavor. See notes after recipe.
Lentil Stew with Steamed Rock Fish and Sunchokes
Recipe adapted from Cancer Lifeline Cookbook by Kimberly Mathai, MS, RD
~Nancy Miller, MA, MS, RDN
You can find this root vegetable in most grocery stores from September through May (and some have it year-round). It ranges in size from the size of a baseball to much larger. Look for smaller ones, which are less fibrous. The flavor is different from celery, though similar. The texture is also different from that of celery.
Adding celeriac to your vegetable rotation will add essential vitamins and minerals that you may be missing in your diet that are needed for the proper functioning of your body. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day is crucial in order to get an assorted range of nutrients. A pill isn’t the same.
Try the delicious celeriac recipes below to add a new vegetable to your meal planning!
Note: You can usually ask an employee in the produce section to cut the celeriac in half, if needed, before buying it. And only take half, if you feel it is too large.
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5136/celeriac-coleslaw and the Joy of Cooking
Celeriac and Pear Purée
Makes 4 (2/3 cup) Servings
Recipe adapted from
~Nancy Miller, MS, RDN
The Four F’s--fiber, fluid, flora and physical activity—are most commonly recommended to alleviate constipation. But they also help accomplish other positive things for your body. In this post we’re going to discuss how The Four F’s can improve and maintain the condition of your gut—and with it, your overall health.
With recent studies connecting gut health to overall well being, it makes sense to start with a simple question: What, exactly, is a healthy gut? In simple terms, a healthy gut has an ideal ratio of “good” bacteria to “bad” bacteria. It’s hard to visualize, but the community of bacterial microflora in your GI tract contains more than 100 trillion bacteria, made up of thousands of different species. It’s important to keep this gut microbiome in good condition, and not let factors such as environment, age, antibiotic use, and disease throw it off balance. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to influence your gut through eating and physical activity to maintain a healthy ratio of microflora. Let’s take a look.
The first “F” is fiber, and for good reason. With benefits ranging from managing blood glucose to lowering cholesterol levels, fiber is often referred to by dietitians as the “magical nutrient.” But what does it do for your gut?
When it comes to the digestive tract, there are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers dissolve in water and form a gel within the digestive tract, making bowel movements softer and easier to pass. They also can slow the digestion of foods and aid in unwanted symptoms such as diarrhea. Rich sources of soluble fiber are oats, beans, peas, and lentils.
Insoluble fiber does not form a gel. Rather, it acts as a bulking agent for our stools. Insoluble fiber combined with soluble fibers help keep us regular. Foods rich in insoluble fiber include skins of vegetables and fruits, brown rice, wheat bran, and whole grains. It’s important to remember that all plant-based foods contain fiber of both types. It’s simply the ratio of each that varies.
So what’s the bottom line? Make sure to eat a variety of plant-based foods, and to drink more fluids as you increase your fiber intake to keep your gut happy.
Gut microflora is a hot topic right now, with several studies linking gut microbiota to multiple health conditions, including obesity, allergies, diabetes, cancer—even some mental health conditions. A healthy microflora contains high levels of probiotic bacteria. Probiotics defend our guts from harmful microbes. The main role of the gut flora on the GI tract is to protect the gut epithelium from harmful pathogens. While a healthy gut is able to fight off most of these pathogens without any side effects, an unhealthy gut does not. Thus, one way to support the gut is to eat prebiotics (fiber) to support the existing probiotics in our guts. Also, eating fermented or cultured foods (with live probiotics) increases overall probiotic content and keeps the digestive system healthy. Examples of good probiotic foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, cultured vegetables, yogurt, and tempeh.
And last, but not least...
A proper functioning gut is essential to overall health. Being mindful of The Four F’s gives you an important tool to improve and maintain your overall wellness while partaking in two of my favorite activities: eating and playing!
Here are a few tasty smoothie recipes to help you increase your fiber and fluid intake! Try adding plain Greek yogurt or kefir to any of your smoothies for an extra boost of probiotics, as well as protein. And of course, don’t forget to wash it all down with a brisk walk around the block!
Creamy Zucchini Blueberry Smoothie
Nutrition per 8 ounces: 218 Calories; 10g Fat; 6g Protein; 32g Carbohydrates; 4.7g Fiber; 67mg Sodium
Summer Peach Smoothie
Nutrition per 8 ounces: 227 Calories; 13.5g Fat; 6.7g Protein; 24g Carbohydrates; 6g Fiber; 44mg Sodium
*analyzed recipe using 1% milk and peanut butter
~Kelsy, Dietetic intern
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!