Saturday, April 11, 2015

Jerusalem Artichokes

Today's letter is J in the A to Z Challenge and in our garden it's for Jerusalem Artichokes which is good since it is also time to plant them.

Haven't heard of them? That's okay, you might have also heard them called a Sun Choke, not to be confused the ones that grow on the bush, this one is a tuber like a potato. It has a flavor like a water chestnut and can be used in salads or boiled and mashed like a potato. Large tubers can be sliced and cooked to make a chip. There are all kinds of recipes for them and since they are so easy to grow it's a shame not to try them.

You can buy tubers at most online seed retailers, but know that in the right environment they can be invasive, they won't kill off other plants but you might end up with more than you need.

Plant them in a well drained sunny spot, behind lower growing plants, the root is the edible part but the 10 foot sprout with a daisy type flower can often shade out other plants. We are thinking that this year we will plant them behind or with our beans so that they can use the stalks for climbing. The Jerusalem artichoke isn't harvested until after the first frost so they have a long growing season. They are very peat tolerant don't don't need much other than an rich, well drained soil. Make sure when you dig them up you get them all or you won't have to worry about planting again next year. Any tubers left in the ground will likely sprout next year.

These are some of the blooms we had on our Jerusalem Artichokes last year. Since they are well over my head it was easy to keep track of where the tubers should be when we harvested.

After harvesting the tubers clean them off and store in a cellar or other cool area for months. They even last for months in a refrigerator.

Another health conscious plus for these are that they are good for diabetics since their sugar is inulin, this is metabolized much slower in the body than regular sugars. As well as being rich in other vitamins. 

I hope you are enjoying this Blog in the A to Z Challenge, finding out new ideas for your garden space and maybe you have been introduced to a few things you have never seen. Please stop back on Monday for the letter "K". There will be more fun veggies for your garden and a recipe for a quick and healthy snack!