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I'd love to eat sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes) more frequently, but the side effects (gas, abdominal discomfort) are a bummer. In a home kitchen, how can I prepare the sunchokes to prevent this side effect?

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Would Beano or something similar work? I recently had a delicious sunchoke puree, with no noticeable side effects. –  KatieK May 11 '13 at 0:33
The ogliosacharrides in beans are a different class than the inulin in sunchoke (galactose based versus fructose based), and evidently Beano is not effective on them. –  SAJ14SAJ May 11 '13 at 11:09
While this isn't a solution, it may help a little: Addition of cumin to any dish, while not reducing the volume of gas, removes the worst of odor, making the flatulence mostly scentless. –  SF. May 11 '13 at 16:52
@SF. That sounds more than a little suspect. Is there some evidence for that claim, or at least an explanation of how it's supposed to work? –  Aaronut May 11 '13 at 18:23
@Aaronut: Honestly, if you're looking for scientific proofs I'm quite helpless. It's a part of the "kitchen folklore wisdom", a thing I learned from my mother, and which she learned from her mother. –  SF. May 11 '13 at 21:12

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In On Food and Cooking (2004 edition), page 307, Harold McGee indicates that the... erm... flatulent effects of sun chokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) are due to complex fructose-based carbohydrates that are not digestible by humans.

Long, slow cooking allows enzymes present in the fresh of the tuber will convert these fructose over time. McGee recommends 12-24 hours at 200 F / 93 C.

He indicates that the result will be soft and sweet, akin to a vegetable aspic.

Note that the ogliosacharrides in beans are a different class than the inulin in sunchoke (galactose based versus fructose based, respectively), and evidently Beano is not effective sunchoke.

Short of this extreme measure, your best defense against wind may be smaller portions of the vegetable.

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Most hydrolases (enzymes, e.g. amylase) will be inactivated at 200°F. The breakdown of the polysacharide is likely due to simple, nonenzymatic acid hydrolysis. See prep of glucose syrup from corn starch: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucose_syrup#Hydrolysis –  Wayfaring Stranger May 11 '13 at 22:05

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