All About Growing Jerusalem Artichokes

Once they're established, growing Jerusalem artichokes is more a matter of containing than encouraging them. These productive, nutty-flavored tubers can stand in for potatoes.

| October/November 2010

  • growing Jerusalem artichokes
    Jerusalem artichoke strains vary by skin color, root shape and maturation time. Shown here, from left to right, are ‘Red Fuseau,’ ‘Stampede,’ ‘White Fuseau,’ ‘Red Rover’ and a flowering Helianthus tuberosus plant.
  • sliced Jerusalem artichoke
    Fry sliced Jerusalem artichokes as you would potatoes, or bake slices in a low-temperature oven for a long period of time to make “potato” chips.

  • growing Jerusalem artichokes
  • sliced Jerusalem artichoke

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

Potatoes aren’t the only terrific tuber out there. Native to central North America, Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) — often called by the more modern name “sunchokes” — are so prolific they can become invasive, but if handled properly, they will be a productive and rewarding crop. The edible parts of these plants are their knobby roots, which have a crisp texture like that of water chestnuts. When cooked, they become a soft, nutty alternative to potatoes.

Types to Try

American and European gardeners have been selecting superior strains over the course of 300 years growing Jerusalem artichokes. A few of these are distinctive enough to bear variety names. Keep in mind that unnamed strains grown by local gardeners may be a great fit for your garden, so look for them at local farmers markets or plant swaps. You can also try growing from supermarket sunchokes, purchasing and planting them in early spring.

Strains vary by skin color, root shape, and maturation time. White-skinned strains include the early-maturing ‘Stampede’ variety, which develops crisp, round roots quickly enough to be grown in climates with short summers. The roots of slower-growing ‘Clearwater’ and ‘White Fuseau’ are longer, which makes them easier to scrub and peel.

Red-skinned strains include ‘Red Fuseau,’ which has red skin over topshaped roots with few attached round nodules, making the roots easy to clean. The roots of ‘Red Rover,’ ‘Waldspinel,’ and a few other red varieties are so long that these varieties are sometimes called “fingerling sunchokes.”

All of the varieties mentioned here are available from Oikos Tree Crops.

9/13/2017 2:31:31 PM

Can I plant jerusalem artichokes now (early Sept) for flowers in the spring?

11/3/2014 6:40:41 AM

someone gave me some tubers to grow and i did . got some tuber the first time not real big and the plant only got about 4 feet tall they come up on there own from the ones i miss but not until late in the growing season , i'm in east central Florida, i put out tomatoes around Feb 14th. the sun-chokes don't come up till may or later, how do i get them to sprout earlier. do they need a cool down period to sprout.would a few weeks in the refrigerator get them to sprout?

9/20/2013 8:23:07 PM

I greatly enjoy these tubers. But not a big fan of the so called nutty flavor. I find if you cut down the stalks in the fall before the killing frost. They don't develop that nutty flavor. Leave 10 inches of stalk to find in the fall and winter it helps to follow the remaining stalk. They are sweet creamy white under the skin. Eaten raw have the crunch of a radish. Frying they become crunchy. Boiled into creamy potato like taste need to cook a little longer to reduce water. Good fiber tasty treat just don't like the nutty artichoke flavor.


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