Saturday, August 1, 2015

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem  Artichokes, also known as Sunchokes, are a great addition to a garden or edible landscaping. Perennial. Seen often along roadsides and ditches they may be considered a weed by some, but they have multiple uses as a food source for both animals and people. As a member of the Sunflower family they attract beneficial pollinators. The stalks and flowers can be harvested and fed to livestock as can the tubers. For highest nutritional value cut stalks throughout the growing season and use as a supplemental feed. For best tuber growth wait until after the first frost, the stalks still hold value, although a little less, but the tubers will be larger and can be harvested and stored as a food source for your family and livestock. By waiting until the frost the energy all goes into the tubers. After frost dig the tubers, divide and spread out and/or tubers can be stored in a cool dry place and used as an animal feed or used in ways similar to a potato for your family. 

Planting  is simple. They are very hardy and need little attention. Prepare your spot by removing grass and weeds and turn soil 4-5 inches deep or I use a lasagna gardening method and they seem to be loving it. Plant whole tubers in early spring. There are several different varieties with different attributes. Researching can help you find the type that has any specific characteristics that you prefer, or in my opinion, finding someone local that already has them growing or digging them from a roadside (you know they'll grow and who doesn't like free) is a great choice. 
Jerusalem Artichokes are very pest and disease resistant.
*Note* They are considered somewhat invasive. Try to pick a spot that you will be comfortable with them staying and some room to spread. Cut off blooms and enjoy as cut flowers if you want to control them a bit.
Considering how easy they are to grow, and how pretty they are, they can be used to fill in large spaces as decoration. 
Having a diverse range of plants in your garden is important. No one knows from year to year what the weather will do. What flourished last year may not produce at all the next. Pests, disease, drought or extreme rain can throw things off track. 
The tubers can be cooked in most of the same ways as a potato or used raw in salads. High in iron, fat free and a wonderful nutty flavor.

  1. Jerusalem artichoke
    Root vegetable
  2. The Jerusalem artichoke, also called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour, is a species of sunflower native to eastern North America, and found from eastern Canada and Maine west to North Dakota, and south to northern Florida and Texas. Wikipedia
  3. Nutrition Facts
    Amount Per 
    Calories 109
  4. % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 0 g0%
    Saturated fat 0 g0%
    Polyunsaturated fat 0 g
    Monounsaturated fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg0%
    Sodium 6 mg0%
    Potassium 644 mg18%
    Total Carbohydrate 26 g8%
    Dietary fiber 2.4 g9%
    Sugar 14 g
    Protein 3 g6%
    Vitamin A0%Vitamin C10%
    Vitamin D0%Vitamin B-65%
    Vitamin B-120%Magnesium6%
    *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.