Want an easy to grow, unusual vegetable? Try Jerusalem artichokes. What is a Jerusalem artichoke?
Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus
) are really sunflowers with fat, edible roots. They're also popularly known as Sun Chokes.
Growing Jerusalem Artichokes
Plant our Jerusalem artichoke tubers
in the spring and stand back! They are hardy to USDA zone 2 and grow best in the cooler two-thirds of the U.S. Watch the plants grow to 10 feet tall and 6 feet across, starred with yellow flowers. Happiest in a sunny spot and well-drained soil with good tilth, Jerusalem artichokes are vigorous and will usually win any battle with a weed. Some gardeners consider them weeds because of their willingness to return each year. Dig and enjoy the tuberous roots throughout the summer. In our video
on fall care for perennial vegetables, Tricia shows how to dig them up completely after the first few frosts.
How to Control the Spread of Jerusalem Artichokes
* Snip off the flowers and use them indoors in arrangements, before they drop their seeds. * Dig up most of the plants in late fall. If you are able to harvest through a mild winter, be sure to dig up most of the plants by spring to keep them from taking over your garden.
Recipes for Jerusalem artichokes
This vegetable is easier on diabetics than are potatoes; when we digest Jerusalem artichokes they convert to fructose instead of glucose, which metabolizes more slowly. Raw:
Scrub them clean with a vegetable brush, but don't peel them. The texture is like a water chestnut, so they are good sliced into salads. Preserved: Pickle them
yellow with turmeric and mustard seeds. Cooked:
Bake them like potatoes, for a fluffy texture and a nuttier flavor than potatoes. For more information
see a long article
by Purdue University. Tall photo courtesy of Kjetil Lenes