The Jerusalem artichoke (or sunchoke) has been nicknamed “fartichoke” because, as some suggest, the dietary fiber inulin can’t be properly digested and causes an Ex-Lax-like effect on the human digestive system. The Jerusalem artichoke is a species of sunflower and is not a type of artichoke.
The term “fartichoke” has been cited in print at least as early as the play Ubu Rex (1968), by Alfred Jarry:
“MA UBU. Ice-pudding, salad, fruit, cheese, boiled beef, Jerusalem fartichokes, cauliflower a la pschitt.”
Wikipedia: Jerusalem artichoke
The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), also called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour, is a species of sunflower native to eastern North America, and found from eastern Canada and Maine west to North Dakota, and south to northern Florida and Texas. It is also cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable.
Despite its name, the Jerusalem artichoke has no relation to Jerusalem, and it is not a type of artichoke, though both are members of the daisy family.
The Ubu Plays
By Alfred Jarry
Translated by Cyril Connolly and Simon Watson Taylor
New York, NY: Grove Press
Pg. 24 (Ubu Rex):
MA UBU. Ice-pudding, salad, fruit, cheese, boiled beef, Jerusalem fartichokes, cauliflower a la pschitt.
The Arizona Game
By Georgina Hammick
London: Chatto & Windus
We had artichoke soup, which Brian called fartichoke, with croutons and cream; afterwards lamb chops with a shiny, sharp sauce, baked aubergines, and potatoes boiled in their skins; then Brian’s home-made ice cream.
By Wendy Holden
New York, NY: Plume
Oh no. Of all things in the world she could never digest.
“Artichoke, Jane?” asked Amanda, digging into, and lifting, a huge chunk of the mixture and dolloping it in a heap in front of her. Fartichoke, thought Jane.
The Pedant in the Kitchen
By Julian Barnes
The ‘Jerusalem’ part—while we’re on the subject of misleading etymologies—doesn’t refer to any supposed place of origin, but is a mishearing of the French ‘girasol’, ‘sunflower’, which is generically related to the fartichoke.
A Way with Words
Posted by Grant Barrett on June 28, 2007
n.— «I love the nutty, earthy flavour of jerusalem artichokes, but there is a reason they are often called fartichokes. A tip from an Indian friend is a trick worth knowing—adding a pinch of asafoetida, or hing, to the artichokes as they are sweating will greatly reduce flatulence.» —“Souped up for winter” by Kate Fraser Stuff.co.nz (New Zealand) June 28, 2007
The Edible Garden - Fartichokes
Uploaded on Jun 16, 2010
Alys Fowler demonstrates how to cook Jerusalem Artichokes.
From The Edible Garden TV Series, broadcast by BBC 2010.
Producer Juliet Glaves.
The Dark Side of Sunchokes
4:50 PM / February 19, 2013
Posted by Andrew Knowlton
That’s right: fartichoke. For all its popularity, the sunchoke is still known to some as a bowel-busting terror. I first heard of this from no less an authority than Rene Redzepi. We were talking about the trend toward serving unexpected vegetables raw, like Brussels sprouts or broccoli, and as soon as I mentioned the Jerusalem artichoke, he stopped me in surprise and said he’d never serve it raw at his restaurant. He even went so far as to call it irresponsible for a chef to serve. The vegetable is made of a carbohydrate called inulin, he explained, instead of the tuber’s typical starch, and inulin has an Ex-Lax-like effect on the human digestive system—we can’t digest it naturally, so our gut bacteria go to town. He added that it makes his stomach rumble.
I had never even heard of this before, but just a quick scan of the Internet confirmed that the sunchoke had a seriously bad reputation. Even though it’s a New World plant, the “fartichoke” nickname seems to have come from Britain, where both BBC radio and TV shows can’t mention the plant without needing to pay lip service to its notoriety.
Do Sunchokes Give You Gas? Meet the Fartichoke
By CHOW staff, published on Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Bon Appétit reported yesterday that sunchokes (a.k.a. Jerusalem artichokes) have a very bad track record for digestibility. There’s even a nickname for them: fartichokes.
BA’s Andrew Knowlton says he learned of sunchokes’ noxious tendencies from chef René Redzepi. Redzepi thinks it’s irresponsible to serve fartichokes raw, when the inulin they contain (a type of dietary fiber with naturally sweet polysaccharides) is especially active in the human gut.
Stop calling it a fartichoke
POSTED: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 11:11 AM
Posted 12:41 PM, 05/21/2013
how about getting a sense of humor
— LOVE & JOY