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Also known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are not related to the city or artichokes. These tuberous roots look like ginger but are actually from a sunflower species. Their crunchy texture is similar to water chestnuts and their earthy character is a cross between a potato and an artichoke--a little sweet, a little tart, and very filling. Decide for yourself by eating them raw or roasted, with or without the thin skin. Try them puréed as soup, chopped up in a quiche, or pickled for a long lasting snack.
Dagele Bros. Produce, operated by Frank, Robert and Randal Dagele was started in 1919, when the brothers' grandparent's, John and Josephine, emigrated from Poland and settled in the 22 square miles of Orange County known as the "Black Dirt" region. A bit of geological happenstance has made the area home to some of this country's most fertile soil due to having been formerly the bottom of a nutrient rich lake. The sulfur rich soil makes for particularly spicy alliums so the Dagele Bros. devote about 180 acres of their 400 acre farm to growing cooking onions. "We sell our onions with the tops still on them, they're extremely fresh and have a better taste," Doreen, the Dagele sister, says. The other crops grown on the Dagele brothers' farm are 125 acres of salad greens, 40 acres of pumpkins and winter squash, and 20 acres of different vegetables that range from artichokes to zucchini.
Refrigerate in a breathable bag for up to 2-3 weeks; or keep on counter for up to a week. Like apples, use lemon juice to counter oxidation when sunchokes are exposed to air.