I was doing my weekly vegetable/fruit shopping today - and came across a root vegetable that sort of resembles the ginger root I buy (I use that for tea and freshly chopped/grated in recipes that call for it). I'd never seen nor heard of it before - so of course - snapped a picture of it (can you see me in the shot? ) - and as soon as I got home - had to find out how it could be used in the culinary arts area I love to delve into from time to time (okay - I'm cheap - I rarely eat out - I love to cook and experiment - need I say more ?).
So, I came across this great link that gives the history of how it's been around for centuries. Back around the early 1600's, Samuel de Champlain’s exploration days, he came to Maine on one of his jaunts. He politely grabbed (I hope he was - so rude just to take it without asking nicely) a few bulbs from the native locals and brought it back home to France). From there, it sort of took off in the pots/ovens of Europe - but eventually started to sort of fade into the background after WWII - when no one there wanted to be reminded having to eat this root - due to having their crops being confiscated by the occupying forces during that time (e.g. their potato, carrot, other sources of food). I guess it left an ugly reminder to them and they no longer ate it once the war was over. Don't blame them one bit - and this even occurred with food/etc. being taken away from Germans in WWI (boy oh boy - do I learn things when I research a food article)!
Now, it seems to have been rediscovered again (and by moi just today!). I'm all geared up to start trying out some recipes from it - despite it containing inulin - which supposedly makes you abit tooty toot toot out the backside - and gives your tummy abit of a work out depending on how much you stuff into your body (FatCatAnna please take note of your own words for future consideration - you don't want to embarrass yourself in front of your D-mates in Toronto in a few weeks - aka Friends For Life meet up).
Inulin, from what I had read about a few years ago, is "supposed to" aid in blood sugar control abit. Because of the foods that contain it tend to have more fibre - which is what inulin is (please - I'm not misspelling - it's not supposed to be "insulin" - trust me - I'm an honest cat). Also, it can be used to replace sugar, fat and flour. All culprits of making our blood sugars go whacky. So, this explains why in Germany, topinambur is fermented into liquid refreshment called Rossler - aka schnapps! If you want to learn a wee bit more - check out this link.
I think I lucked in today - because the harvesting season is from October - March. The place where I shop for my fruits and veggies is widely known amongst many of the international residents of Montreal - for carrying products that you don't always find in your usual grocery store (now you see why I love living in Montreal - despite my horrible knowledge of the French language - it's all about food / culture / la joie de vivre).
So, have any of you ever cooked up a meal with this vegetable? I’d love to hear about what you make – and I’ll keep you posted on what I make (the Topinambur & Carrots Savoury picture shown in my first link in my blog here – is making my mouth water).
NB: I seem to not be having much luck searching for recipes with "topinambur" as the key word - so switched over to "Jerusalem artichoke" and there are LOTS of recipe links for this (aka one of my favs - Jaimie Oliver). So, here's one that I'm personally starting with myself ..... http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/blv71.htm