TOPINAMBUR, (EARTH APPLE), (JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE)
Latin name: HELIANTHUS TUBEROSUS
Introduction of genotype culture ENERGINA, found on the territory of Bulgaria.
The plant is native to North America. According to the most popular version about the origin of its name, “topinambo” was the name of the Native Americans who cultivated it. It was brought to Europe in the 16th c. by French explorers who called it topinambur.
It is a tuberous perennial plant, a member of the Asteraceae family. The stalk resembles the sunflower stalk, but is usually taller and reaches 2.5-4.5 m in height. The stalks have one or two, or a multitude of branches. Most commonly they are green-coloured, and rarely of a pink to red hue. The stalks are covered with tiny bristles. The leaves are broad and ovoid. The inflorescence pouches are smaller than those of the sunflower. The flowers are bright yellow. It blooms in September and October, but the seeds do not mature. The plant is propagated by tubers. The structure of its overground organs is similar to the sunflower, but the underground part of the stem is branched like potato, forming tubers with white, yellow or (rarely) purple flesh. The tubers are of irregular shapes, very often pear-shaped or shaped like elongated ovals, rarely spindle-shaped. They are covered by a very fine, pale brown peel, which is delicate and easily perishable, once the tubers have been unearthed. They have several protruding eyes, unlike those on potatoes. One plant gives about 30 tubers, each weighing 20-30 up to over 100 g.
Helianthus tuberosus L. – One-of-a-kind plant referred to in many of Aviccena’s prescriptions.
The earth apple (topinambur) is a plant remarkable for its unique capacity of ecological self-defence. It does not accumulate nitrates, heavy metals or radioactive elements. Its ecological purity remains practically unaffected by the environment, and the foods in which it is included as an ingredient acquire valuable functional and curative or prophylactic properties:
Supplements them with inulin, pectin, minerals, vitamins
Boosts their nutritional and biological value
Adds dietary, antidiabetic, bioprotective functions
The earth apple (topinambur) is highly regarded in many countries throughout the world. It is cultivated as a valuable dietary vegetable. For the past decade it has been regarded as the crop culture of the new century.
Many people are unaware of the fact that the Russian tsar and reformer Peter I the Great was using topinambur tubers to cure his grave kidney disease.
All parts of the plants have beneficial properties: the tubers (including the peel), stems, leaves and flowers.
Foods with curative and prophylactic functions such as rusks, bread, pasta, sausages, dairy products, drinks, sweets and icecream, made with topinambur, all safe to be consumed by diabetics, as they do not contain any sugar at all.
The regular use of topinambur products as part of the diet has a favourable effect on the human body as prophylaxis against many illnesses and diseases, most notably gastrointestinal diseases, cancer and diabetes.
At present, topinambur plantations cover three million hectars worldwide. The main purpose is to supply the pharmaceutical and food industries with raw material. It is successfully used as an ingredient in health functional products and in the production of biologically active supplements.
Energina, the crop variety cultivated on the biological farm of CHARODEITSI Ltd., is distinguished by very good properties that allow using it in different sectors of the food and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in other industrial sectors. The fact that the plant is regarded in the EU countries as the bioculture of the 21st century (International Congress, Basel, 2000), that at the International conference in Russia in 2004 topinambur was declared “the bioenergetic culture of the 21st century”, that the plant is listed among the most valuable in Australia and various local genotypes are being promoted for distribution and production, that in Germany topinambur is registered in the catalogue of the most beneficial medicinal plants, is a serious argument in favour of creating a strategy and special program for large-scale cultivation of the Bulgarian variety Energina as an exceptionally valuable raw material for various manufactures.