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Celebrate nutrition during March

(Joyce Trepus welcomes your questions at 503-292-2741.)

March is National Nutrition Month, and the following information is a place to begin thinking and eating healthier. You may want to look for a copy of 'The Vegetable Year Cookbook' by Judy Ridgway. It was first published in 1985 by Judy Piarkus (Publishers) Ltd, London. The ISBN number is 0-86188-363-2.

The suggested vegetables for March are Jerusalem artichokes, spinach and chard, tomatoes and garlic. Steaming and baking are excellent ways to cook veggies. It is best not to boil the texture and flavor out of them along with the nutrients. We eat ours tender crisp, except for winter squash and potatoes.

Heading into spring makes eating fresh vegetables more interesting, so watch for the specials in your local market. Boring is a word that will never be used again at your table with the help of this cookbook.

Jerusalem artichokes are the tubers of a species of sunflower, which was first cultivated in Canada. My Aunt Helen grew them in her garden in Minnesota and I love them. Digging them was not a lot of fun, but eating them was. I hope you will give them a try, and the following recipe is a good way to begin.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Adapted from 'The Vegetable Year Cookbook'

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon cooking oil (I

use butter)

12 ounces Jerusalem arti

chokes

2 carrots, peeled, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 pint chicken stock

Salt and black pepper

1 elephant garlic clove,

mashed (my addition)

Fry the onion gently in the oil. Meanwhile wash (a vegetable brush makes washing them easier) and peel the artichokes; wash them again.

Chop and add to the pan. Add the remaining ingredients, then bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Sieve or puree in a blender. Reheat and serve.

I pass freshly grated Parmesan cheese and minced parsley when serving. A dollop of sour cream is tasty, too. Serves four with a salad and croutons or crackers.

More healthy eating next week. When I volunteered at Food Front, we had a different fruit or vegetable at least once a week and I developed new recipes for each of them. Great fun!

Call me if you would like more Jerusalem artichoke recipes. The creamy artichoke casserole is great, but try the soup first and remember this vegetable is not related to the Globe artichoke you find in the supermarket. It looks more like a potato and has about as much starch.

I wonder if it would work to slice the chokes thinly and deep fry like a potato chip. Maybe we will try it.