Eating Jerusalem Artichokes


| 11/8/2018 10:07:00 AM


Jerusalem artichoke blossoms 

Jerusalem artichokes, a member of the sunflower family, typically grow to be ten feet tall or taller. Photo by Carole Coates

Sure, I’ve eaten Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes. But I’d never grown them—until we bought some last fall at the local farmers’ market. “Can we plant these?” my husband asked. Assured that we could, we bought a few to eat and a few more to store in the fridge until spring. Well, spring has come and gone and fall is in full swing. Time to figure out what to do with all those sunchokes.

Nuisance Weed or Gourmet Veggie?

What a funny name for a plant that’s related neither to Jerusalem nor artichokes. Instead, this perennial is in the sunflower family and can often be found growing along roadsides. It has a reputation for being invasive, which may be how it came to be known as a weed. But it has a long history as a healthy food source. And to a gardener or forager, there's nothing like good food that's also free.

We reserved a small, enclosed raised bed to plant our tubers. (Be careful of any plant that’s touted as ‘easy to grow,’ especially in less than ideal conditions.) We had no idea whether they’d produce, especially since they’d grown pretty soft during our winter’s storage. And they did take a long time to emerge from the soil.



An Easy Grow, Prolific Harvest

We planted nine tubers. A couple didn’t make it, after all. But the rest finally sprouted. We waited impatiently for the long growing season to end and the stalks to die back so we could dig up the roots. 



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