Native to North America, sunchokes, also called Jerusalem artichokes (although not from Jerusalem and not artichokes), were first cultivated by the Native Americans who called them sun roots. Sunchokes are a tuber, an underground stem, of a bright yellow flower that is related to the sunflower.
Sunchokes look like small, knobby potatoes, but they have a very unique flavor—sweet and nutty, reminiscent of an artichoke heart. An interesting nutritional fact about sunchokes is that 75 to 80 percent of their carbohydrate content is in the form of inulin (not insulin!) rather than starch. This mean that the sugars break down into sucrose, not glucose, which might be of interest to those with concerns about sugar levels. Inulin is also a prebiotic, which can improve digestion and enhance immunity.