The Helianthus tuberosus, popularly known also as pataca, topinambur and Canadian sunflower, is a tuber native to North America.
The first crops of topinambur by the Indians, date back several centuries. This tuber landed in Europe in the seventeenth century.
Consumption of topinambur grew exponentially after World War II, when food shortages stalked much of the continent.
It is a plant of great rusticity, which helps it to be grown in very unfavorable conditions. In any case, the temperate climate is ideal for the development of the pataca.
The topinambur or sunflower of Canada, is a plant that can grow up to 3 meters in height, has opposite and alternate leaves of rough and hairy textures.
Its lower leaves are large, since they can measure up to 30 cm, and the tall ones tend to be small and narrow. The flowers are yellow, similar to those of the sunflower.
The tubers, on the other hand, are elongated and uneven. They measure approximately 9 cm long and 4 cm wide.
In this sense, they are slightly similar to the root of ginger and their colors are diverse, since we can find browns, whites, reds and purples.
Consume Helianthus tuberosus It is very healthy for our body, since it has the necessary properties to carry out a balanced diet.
It can be cooked in several ways, so knowing in detail everything that topinambur can bring us is essential before consuming it.
Benefits and properties of topinambur
The topinambur o pataca is composed of 15% protein, 9% carbohydrates, 4% fibers and 1% fats. In addition, it is made up of 80% water.
Its source of prebiotic fiber, in addition to minerals such as iron, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.
In turn, the topinambur, is rich in vitamins (niacin, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, among others) and antioxidants. For this reason, the Canadian sunflower is a very beneficial tuber for the body.
One of the main benefits is that it helps regulate the levels of blood glucose, essential to prevent constant fatigue and heart disease.
This property is what makes topinambur also very beneficial for diabetics, because it contains a low glycemic index.
Being rich in potassium and low in sodium, consume Helianthus tuberosus, helps control blood pressure.
On the other hand, the soluble fiber present in this tuber, considerably reduces the levels of blood cholesterol.
This vegetable, in addition, is a very good ally to prevent or correct anemia, since copper and iron favor the formation of hemoglobin.
Finally, among the most important benefits of topinambur, is that being rich in vitamins B and B1 (thiamine), it promotes digestive health.
How to cook topinambur
Pataca is a very versatile vegetable, so it can be cooked in several ways. In this way, we can add it to our diet in different ways.
First of all, unlike potato, topinambur can eaten raw without any consequence for our organism.
Another possibility is to cook the Canadian sunflower in the oven, with a thorough pre-cleaning and good seasoning. In general, in 35-40 minutes, the topinambur will be ready for consumption.
Steam it it is another very good option. It has, in its favor, that it only takes about 15 minutes to be done.
Finally, the cooking of Helianthus tuberosus it can be carried out in a fried way. In this sense, it is similar to the process of chips.
Different ways to take advantage of it in the kitchen and its flavor
Being a food that has several cooking possibilities, there are many ways to add it to our diet.
The flavor of the pataca is slightly sweet and nutty flavored, which makes it a very good option to complement any dish, since it does not have an intense taste.
If we eat it raw, topinambur is a very good way to take advantage of it. You just owe cslice it or grate it and add it to a salad.
If we make the topinambur in the oven, the combinations are many. It can perfectly accompany a piece of meat or chicken, a plate of noodles or rice.
It can also be cooked with other vegetables in a stir-fry, since it combines very well with other foods of this type.
Steamed can be, for example, seasoned with butter and olive oil, mixed and made quickly with other vegetables similar to the Canadian sunflower, such as potato or sweet potato.
If we choose to fry the topinambur, its consumption can accompany a dish or it can be the protagonist of some homemade tapas.
Finally, pataca flour is widely used, to replace the calories provided by traditional wheat flour.
In this sense, it is used for all kinds of meals that require this ingredient, such as pizza or cake.
Where can I buy it?
Helianthus tuberosus it can be purchased physically in stores or supermarkets that sell quality vegetables, as well as through online sites specialized in the sale of these foods.
Surely the most complex thing is to get the ideal topinambur flour, in order to carry out various meals.
This product is normal to buy in eccomerce stores or even on Amazon, since in markets and greengrocers it is more difficult to get it, unless we live in large metropolitan cities.
Average price, consumption format and how to use it
The box of a kilo of topinambur is among the 12 and 13 euros. Larger drawers, three, four or five kilos, can also be purchased.
In this sense, the amount of Helianthus tuberosus to buy, it will depend on the consumption we have of this type of tuber.
In addition to the traditional vegetable format of consumption of Canada’s sunflower, it can come in cans of flour. In these cases, the costs of these powders are around 6 euros (100 grams).
Being an extremely versatile food, the ways to use topinambur are diverse.
We can cut it into slices or grate it for a salad or stir-fry, or simply clean or peel and steam or bake them.
In short, the possibilities of using the pataca are multiple and will also depend on our creativity when cooking.