A member of our baby food group on Facebook asked yesterday about when babies can eat Jerusalem artichokes, so we thought it would be a good idea to give these interesting veggies a mention here on our blog today.
Jerusalem artichokes – otherwise known as Sunchokes – are not related to artichokes at all. Instead, they’re members of the sunflower family! They look a bit like root ginger, have a texture similar to water chestnuts and can be cooked like potatoes!
Sadly, they’re not available in our corner of the world – but when we lived in England (where a friend of ours grew them), we would occasionally use them to make a soup, which tasted earthy and quite delicious!
Nutritionally speaking, Jerusalem artichokes are a valuable food, high in iron, vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium.
Jerusalem artichokes also contain a substance called inulin, which is helpful to the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, but which is also difficult to digest. This means that eating Jerusalem artichokes can cause gas and may even give baby a sore tummy.
Whilst vigorously boiling can help reduce this uncomfortable side effect, it also depletes the nutrients the vegetables provide.
Our recommendation, then, is to avoid Jerusalem artichokes until your baby is at least 8 to 10 months, and then to watch carefully for any sign of digestive discomfort.
Jerusalem artichokes are not listed as common allergens – that being said, they are not widely eaten, so little information is available. Remember to speak to your doctor before introducing them to your baby and to follow the four day rule.
If you DO decide to introduce your older baby to Jerusalem artichokes – or if you fancy giving them a try yourself – then here’s the recipe we used to use for Jerusalem artichoke soup…
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed
8 oz (1 cup) Jerusalem artichokes, thoroughly scrubbed then sliced
6 fl oz (3/4 cup) milk (use breast milk or formula if you prefer)
6 fl oz (3/4 cup) low sodium or homemade vegetable stock
1/2 oz (1 1/2 tbsp) cornflour/cornstarch
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Heat the butter in a saucepan and saute the onion until tender.
Add the crushed garlic and sliced artichokes.
Cook for 3 to 4 mins.
Pour in the vegetable stock and milk, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Cook, covered, until the Jerusalem artichokes are tender (120 to 25 mins).
Blend until smooth in a food processor, then return to the pot.
Mix the cornflour with a little water until it becomes a paste,
then pour in some of the soup and mix well.
Transfer the cornflour/soup mixture to the main cooking pot,stirring constantly.
When warmed through, add the parsley. For extra luxury, you can even add a little heavy cream!
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Has YOUR baby tried Jerusalem artichokes? Did he LOVE them – or did they give him gas? Please do leave a comment and share your experiences!