Neither Israeli nor thistle, the Jerusalem artichoke is actually the root of a type of sunflower -- its handle originates from the Italian "girasol" (sunflower), which, shlurred, sorta sounds like "Jerusalem." In season from October to March, this gnarly veg looks like ginger root but has a sweet, nutty taste. You can find them fresh at specialty shops like Augusta Fruit Market (65 Nassau, 593-9754) for $2.49/lb or Harvest Wagon (1103 Yonge, 923-7542) in a one-pound bag for $3.99. Since all their nutrients are in the skin, leave them whole and clean with a vegetable brush after soaking them in water for a few minutes. Remove any discoloured bits, then chop them into 1-inch cubes and add to any hearty winter soup or stew. Or make a delicious side dish by slicing them thin and sautéing in olive oil for two minutes. Add some chopped garlic, tomato and parsley, salt 'n' pepper to taste, then cover and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.