If you buy sunchokes from a grocery store, choose tubers that are firm and fresh. Keep them in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator until you use them. Wrap them in paper towels to absorb humidity and seal them in a plastic bag. They probably won't keep longer than two weeks, depending on how far they were shipped and how long they were in the store.
You don't need to peel sunchokes; the skins are thin. Use a vegetable brush or toothbrush to clean them.
If you plan to use them raw in a salad, don't cut or grate them until just before serving because they'll oxidize quickly and turn dark. If you must cut them early, put lemon juice or vinegar over them.
Like potatoes, sunchokes can be baked, boiled, steamed, fried, stewed, and microwaved.
Don't use aluminum or iron pans. The metals will cause oxidation and turn the vegetable dark.
Sunchokes cook faster than potatoes and can turn to mush if you don't watch them closely. Remove them from the heat as soon as you can easily pierce them with a fork or knife.
Cooked sunchokes should be refrigerated and eaten within a couple of days. High levels of iron may cause stored cooked sunchokes to turn gray, though. Add 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to the cooking liquid when reheating.
Acids will strengthen the texture of sunchokes, so if you want them to be softer, add the acidic juice during the last five minutes of cooking.
Don't can or freeze sunchokes because they discolor and their texture gets mushy.
Give sunchokes a try, either raw or cooked.... or both.
photo of sunchoke soup by Anktangle on flickr