Fart Free Jerusalem Artichokes

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Ok well maybe not exactly guaranteed fart free but we can make it safer to eat near a naked flame. At the one meeting Rodger brought jerusalem artichokes from his garden to share. This is an easy root crop, grows like the weed it is on marginal land but has a reputation for causing intestinal gas like no other. He forgot to mention their other name is ‘Jerusalem fartichokes’. This is because it stores energy mostly as inulin – a starch that human can’t digest although other bacteria in our colon can, which is a bit of a two edged sword.
There are simple ways to make Jerusalem artichokes more digestible. Firstly cold shock will cause breakdown of inulin to fructose which can be absorbed in the small intestine, so digging up the artichokes after a few frosts will yield sweeter, more digestible tubers, as will storage. Prolonged cooking is another way. Traditional cooking in a firepit for over 12 hours, or in a low oven 100 Celcius for 24 hours as per Stefano’s recipe 24 Hour Cooked Jerusalem Artichoke, Mushrooms, Scorzonera, Hazelnuts, Garlic “completely negates” the infamous gas producing after effects.
( athough of course this also means the whole ‘low GI’ thing for diabetics is also undone )

If you fancy the taste of fresh artichokes just eat a smaller amount. Inulin has been studied as a prebiotic as it particularly increases bifidobacteria species which are associated with good health – so as a supplement it’s useful for restoring the microbe balance after antibiotics.

An inulin dose of 5–8 g/d should be sufficient to elicit a positive effect on the gut microbiota. One possible side effect of prebiotic intake is intestinal discomfort from gas production. However, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli cannot produce gas as part of their metabolic process. Therefore, at a rational dose of up to 20 g/d, gas distension should not occur. If gas is being generated, then the carbohydrate is not acting as an authentic prebiotic”
http://jn.nutrition.org/content/137/11/2503S.full

Jerusalem artichokes contain about 16g of inulin per 100g weight. A little experimentation should yield a Goldilocks dose that’s right for you – enough inulin to encourage the good bifidobacteria, and not too much which causes overgrowth of other gas producing bacteria.

Fermentation and pickling will remove the inulin as well. There are a couple of methods. A recipe for jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes pickled with sugar, turmeric and chiles. http://agardenerstable.com/2014/02/24/taking-the-wind-out-of-jerusalem-artichokes/

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2 responses »

  1. This article is so funny!! Just can’t stop laughing about the idea of making artichokes safer to eat near a naked flame!! I have a basket full of these beautiful tasting veges but am so reluctant to eat them again. Would it help to freeze them for a while?

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