Green Your Home, Your Family and Your Life!

Green Your Home, Your Family and Your Life!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Growing Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes
Jerusalem artichokes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sunchokes Jerusulem Artichokes
Sunchokes Jerusulem Artichokes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus), sometimes called sunchokes, have enjoyed a revival in popularity for the past several years as more people look for alternatives to the potato.

Sunchoke tubers can be eaten in many of the same ways that potatoes can, with the exception that the carbohydrates in sunchokes are mostly in the form of inulin, a diabetic-friendly fiber without the dietary restrictions of the potato.

I don't know how the name Jerusalem artichoke got started, this lovely sunflower relative is native to North America and is no relation to the artichoke plant.

As a native North American plant, sunchokes are easily grown. They tolerate drought and a wide variety of soil conditions, just be sure to provide them with full sun and a moderate amount of water.

You can purchase tubers at most nurseries in the early spring. Provide a well-drained soil and be sure not to overwater. Sunchokes, like their sunflower cousins, originated on the Great Plains, and as such are used to an arid grassland habitat.

If you live in a place in which the ground doesn't freeze over during winter, you're in luck - leave your sunchoke tubers right where they are, and feel free to dig them up when you're ready to eat some.

The tubers can stay like this all winter, and any remaining tubers will start a new crop of sunchokes next spring.

If you live in a place where the ground does freeze over, dig out the tubers you plan to eat in advance and store them in a cool, dry place. The rule of thumb is that any tubers smaller than a kernel of popcorn should remain in the ground to produce next year's crop.

A word of caution - sunchokes are very prolific and can over take a garden if you don't keep them in check. So don't be afraid to eat plenty of those tubers, and enjoy!

Will you try growing sunchokes this year?

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1 comment:

  1. another word of caution: even though these are delicious, they are not very digestible and cause serious gas.

    Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors