Talk about confusion. Jerusalem artichokes aren't from Jerusalem. They're not even
artichokes. They're native woodland flowers seen over much of the country. The bloom is lovely, the stem is hairy, and the leaves are coarse. The "artichoke" part is the tubers. Grown in the right spot, Jerusalem Artichokes will look great in your yard, and taste great at your dinner.
A Little History
Years ago, French explorers near the St. Lawrence River saw the locals digging up a certain
kind of sunflower and cooking the roots. When they tasted some, they loved it, and sent plant
samples back home. These plants made their way to Italy, where they were called "girasole
articcioco", which, in the mouths of English speakers, became Jerusalem artichokes.
Nowadays, some people call the plant sun chokes.
Planting Jerusalem Artichokes Is Easy
You can find nurseries online that sell tubers for planting. They usually ship in the
spring. When your tubers arrive, find a spot with partial sun for their new home. Work in lots
of organic material, such as
Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil. Sprinkle some
Osmocote® Plus Multipurpose Plant Food, then top it off with a thorough watering. After
that, just water and weed as needed.
Wait a While Before you Harvest
Jerusalem artichokes take at least a year or two to mature. Otherwise, you'll be eating puny
tubers. Once they're ready, you can dig up the roots any time of the year, but they're tastier
after the first frost.
How to Prepare Jerusalem Artichokes
You can boil them, fry them, broil them, bake them, pickle them, or eat them raw. There are
plenty of recipes out there for this delicious, overlooked food. Just surf the net to find the
one that appeals to you most.