Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunchokes

Before I go any further.... let me post this link which is a great disclaimer to growing Sunchokes or Jerusalem Artichokes. If you are going to grow them read that link first.

First a few of the basics about Sunchokes aka Jerusalem Artichokes. It is a member of sunflower family. The roots/tubers are edible. These edible tubers contain high amounts of inulin, a dietary fiber commonly used in the food industry to increase fiber content of random foods without the "high fiber taste" (e.g. fiber one chewy bar... I think most of the fiber one products use inulin from chicory root in their products). It has a mild nutty taste that is a safe starch/carbohydrate for diabetics.

I had been reading about how Sepp Holzer uses these plants to help prevent soil erosion, in his book, Sepp Holzer's Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening . I found small package of sunchokes at Wegmans (the local grocery store) and I planted 3 or 4 of them in the late spring early summer. My goal was to find something that could prevent soil erosion and look pretty on a wild, untamed slope in my yard. If I could get something edible out of the deal that would be a bonus.

These definitely lived up to expectations. They grew well over 7 ft tall and this was after being eaten by the deer at least once. It flowered in the early fall, the flowers lasted through the beginning of October which was nice. 


Yesterday I harvested the plant pictured above, which was originally 2 tubers and is now this:


The tubers were beautiful and some were quite large.  I sliced up a bunch with my mandolin, baked them with olive oil and rosemary and baked them in the oven. My son absolutely loved them! They did taste good. However they do cause quite a bit of flatulence, in certain people. My son tolerated them quite well but others in my household, did not tolerate them well at all. I don't know if I will be cooking with these regularly because of this. I may try different ways of preparing or storing them to minimize the effects. We'll see, however till then lets see if they can prevent the forest for growing into this area of my yard.






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