Especially in autumn, at the beginning of the season, I receive many questions about how to ferment sunchokes. After the vegetable had lost its importance over the centuries, the popularity of the tubers has been growing strongly again for several years.
Sunchoke, also known as Jerusalem artichoke, horse potato or earth truffle, has a slightly nutty to sweet aroma and is considered a healthy, fiber-containing and low-calorie alternative to the ever-popular potato. Instead of the starch predominant in potatoes, sunchokes contain the carbohydrate inulin, which has many positive properties.
Inulin is a prebiotic dietary fiber
- Like all dietary fibers, inulin saturates well, binds liquids and swells in the process. The digestive system remains active.
- The plant energy in inulin cannot be processed in the human metabolism. Therefore, it has no influence on the insulin level, which is why it is also well tolerated by diabetics.
- Inulin can prevent hunger cravings by keeping blood sugar levels more constant and help with weight loss.
- Im Dickdarm dient Inulin Bifidobakterien als Energiequelle und wird von ihnen verstoffwechselt. Inulinaufnahme kann den menschlichen Darm mit Bifidobakterien anreichern und krankmachende Keime verdrängen.
Fermenting sunchokes improves tolerance
Although the inulin in sunchoke has so many positive effects, it can also cause problems. Consumption, especially of raw tubers, can lead to side effects such as flatulence or diarrhea. One reason for this is that the fermentation of inulin by intestinal bacteria proceeds very quickly. Unpleasant side effects can be observed especially in people with intestinal flora accustomed to a diet of simple carbohydrates.
The fermentation of sunchokes preempts these digestive processes and makes it far more digestible for all people. If you do not yet know your personal tolerance, I recommend you to feel your way slowly.
For a 0.75 liter jar you need
- 6-7 sunchokes
- 1 organic lemon
- ½ white onion
- 8-10 allspice seeds
- 1 -2 tbsp miso
- 500 ml water
- 10 gr. salt
Scrub the sunchokes well and peel if needed. Although the peel bothers me on carrots, I like it on these tubers and leave it on. Then cut into thin slices. This is done quick and easy with a vegetable slicer.
Cut four very thin slices from the lemon. Here more is not more, too much lemon quickly becomes unpleasantly bitter.
Also cut the halved onion into thin crescent slices.
Mix the salt and miso in the water until dissolved. I like to use coarse miso with pieces of the legumes or grains still apparent, for example homemade genmai miso. However, the ferment will also succeed with smoother miso without texture.
The sunchoke ferment with miso and lemon is an umami bomb
Place the allspice seeds in the bottom of your fermentation vessel, layer in the sunchoke, lemon and onion slices. Pour on the brine and weigh down with flat, wide weights. The filling level should go to about 2-3 cm below the rim. You can also fill your vessel very full, then you get around the weights. In this case, some brine will probably leak out during the fermentation, because the filling level will increase with the development of carbonic acid. You should protect your furniture from leaking brine, so it is best to place your vessel on a deep plate or in a bowl.
Let it ferment for 3-4 weeks. To prevent the sunchoke from becoming too soft, you should let it ferment in a cooler place. Under 20°C is ideal.
Of course, like all ferments, this ferment can be stored for longer periods.
Another great ferment with sunchokes comes from my second home in California. I call it Berkeley Haze.