Sunchokes: The Most Painful Vegetable

Sunchokes: The Most Painful Vegetable

I’m known for grabbing unusual produce and making it for dinner. Just last week I spied a large display of Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem Artichokes. I thought to myself, “Hey, I like artichokes and these look so fresh! Let me get some!”

I pulled out my phone in the store and did a quick search on ‘Sunchokes nutritional content’. High in potassium and iron, and only 100 calories for a cup full.

You know what search terms I did NOT put into Google?

  • Sunchokes GI Pain
  • Sunchokes Explosive Gas
  • Sunchokes Vegetable Spawn of Satan

I scrubbed the sunchokes clean and decided that since the skin was so light and pale, I’d just leave it on and bake it. Sliced thin, rubbed in olive oil with rosemary and salt, I baked the slices for 45 minutes at 325 degrees.

I pulled out the hot tray and started to nibble on them. Look how pretty! So delicious! In fact, they were so good, I polished about five large sunchokes, a little under 2 cups sliced.


About 30 minutes later, my stomach started to feel a little funny.  I felt as if I had just polished off three plates of food at a buffet. The feeling of being super full started to migrate to uncomfortable and sharply painful.

After about ten minutes of more detailed searches on Google, I realized I was completely doomed. Sunchokes are also nicknamed Fartichokes. Sunchokes are also totally fakers – they aren’t even artichokes! Grown locally, God knows WHY, Sunchokes are a species of sunflower native to eastern North America.

Here’s where the devil is in the details. Sunchokes contain inulin, which is an indigestible fructan fiber to humans. While some tout inulin as a pre-biotic, as it feeds and breeds the good bacteria in your intestines, the side effect of making a ridiculous amount of gas makes it not worth it. Some people are able to digest sunchokes better than others, however, I do not possess a small intestine made of stainless steel. I can eat beans and brussels like a champ, but the destructive Sunchokes are not ever going to be considered food again. There is a theory about where sunchokes are grown, time of the year picked, etc. that would affect the inulin level. It’s. Not. Worth. It.

My family finally came home and found me buckled over in pain. I told them about what had transpired since they had left, and they just laughed at me. Oh, Mom, always eating weird stuff.

As I was lying on the sofa, I watched my stomach distend outward like in an alien horror movie. My husband said, “You look pregnant!” My daughter said, “If you have a baby, we can call it Rooty McTooty.”

I was laughing, but every chuckle shot a sharp jolt of pain through me. This was not going to end well.

For the next twelve hours, I made trips to the bathroom where my body would explode, and I even went outside to air the wicked wind. My husband decided to sleep on the couch in the living room. No way in hell was he going to witness the birth of Rooty McTooty.

So here I am, the dawn of a new day, tired, yet now comfortably deflated. As I madly type away, it is my hope to save just one person from what I experienced last night. Stay the HELL away from Sunchokes! 

If you want to make these for someone you don’t like? Have at it! Or, as an April Fool’s Joke? Heck, you can even PLANT your own in your garden!  Go for it – Just be forewarned, these tasty little morsels come with a heavy, painful and smelly price tag!

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