With the current events that we all know and the food shortages, I thought I would tell you about Jerusalem artichokes, a sunflower that has edible tubers.
I had heard about them last year and decided it would be a great addition to my food forest (Food Forest Gardening). So I bought 10 tubers from a seller on eBay and planted them last spring.
Autumn came around and the beautiful sunflowers died down. The sunflowers were around 6 ft tall and produced multiple branches of flowering heads that were about 6 inches in diameter. They were great as cut flowers. I would show you pictures but I got a new computer and the pictures are on my old computer but you can do a Google search if you are curious what they look like. The featured image for this post is a photo of one of my sunflowers but I grew so many last year that I do not know if it is the Jerusalem artichoke.
Anyway, they died down and I neglected to harvest the tubers. The last couple of days I have been digging up that bed working on getting the weeds out. I was amazed at how many tubers there now are. There are hundreds of tubers that have grown from the original 10 that I had planted.
I had never tasted these before so I brought in a few tubers, wash them and sliced off a piece to see what they tasted like. I was delightfully surprised. They were crisp like a water chestnut, sweet and starchy like a potato. I looked up ways to prepare them and you can saute them, roast them and eat them raw. I can tell that these are going to be delicious roasted and that is the first way that I will prepare them.
I have left most of them in the ground to multiply even further and will be harvesting them this fall for sure.
I have read that they are nutritious and good for diabetics. I am not diabetic so I’m not going to try to describe what I read but that information can be easily researched.
I have them planted in full sun and last year the soil wasn’t all that great but this year I will be adding compost so I will see if that makes a difference.
They are hardy in zones 3 to 8. They like full sun to partial shade and need at least one inch of water per week.
They are a perennial and because they produce so much and are starchy (filling) with great nutritious benefits, they are excellent to plant now, just in case food is not available in the stores.