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Jerusalem Artichoke

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M Updated May 03, 2016
 
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Jerusalem Artichoke

Type of Vegetable

Plant Info

Botanical Family Name (if known)
Helianthus Tuberosus
Other Common Names
Sunchoke, Earth Apple
Propagation
Rhizome
Size
6 h x 2 w (feet)

Basic Growing Tips

Growing Tips
  • Free draining soil only
  • Best grown in warmer conditions
  • Grows best in full sun
Planting Instructions
Bury small sections of rhizome about 12 inches apart and an inch or two under the soil at the beginning of spring.

Ensure the garden bed is sufficiently prepared with adequate fertiliser, compost, and mulching helps keep the weeds from growing under the lanky stalks.

Once the shoots emerge water regularly until the plants are a few feet high and established.

Plants will usually grow strong and fast through spring summer and then completely die back in winter. Tubers/rhizomes not used for consumption can be left in the soil and they will reshoot next season or they are typically dug up and repositioned in the bed.
Harvesting
The tubers or rhizomes are best harvested after the plant has completely died back. Early harvests whilst the plants are growing is fine but the tubers won't be as developed or as nutrient dense.

Summary

The Jerusalem Artichoke is a tall handsome looking plant with large yellow daisy like flowers. It's actually a type of sunflower although the flowers are not very similar. Native to North America this plant is usually grown for its edible tubers, which can be eaten raw or cooked. Some people liken Jerusalem artichoke tubers to potatoes but they are actually not that similar and they also contain much less starch.  

It can be grown in most climates although it does prefer a long warm summer. If the tubers are left in the ground it will multiply quite easily and can become pretty invasive.

High in dietary fibre Jerusalem artichokes are a healthy food choice; however, because of the high fibre content it can cause flatulence (farting) and burping/repeating.     

Editor review

1 reviews

It looks better than it tastes
(Updated: April 17, 2017)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Easy to Grow? 
 
5.0
Taste 
 
2.0
Disease & Pest Resistance 
 
5.0
Productivity 
 
5.0
The Jerusalem artichoke is an easy to grow plant and the edible tubers are not too bad to eat but they're not wonderful either. When I gave my mother some to try she described the taste of the tubers as "very earthy" which was another way to say that she wasn't overly impressed by the flavour.

Another name for the Jerusalem artichoke is Earth Apple and my guess is that it wasn't named this because it's harvested from below the earth and has a crunchy texture but more so due to its "earthy" flavour.

Unfortunately, the tubers go soft within days of being harvested and whilst they can still be eaten the loss of the crunchy texture makes them less appealing. TIP: Leave tubers in the ground until you are ready to use them and they will stay hard if undisturbed.   

My mother also complained about how the Jerusalem artichoke tubers made her repeat (burp) after eating and this is because they are very high in dietary fibre; therefore, as the gut bacteria go to work consuming this food gases are produced and unfortunately, some people suffer worse than others. Personally, I don't have any issues with flatulence or burping after eating the tubers but many do...

However, it is important to note food high in dietary fibre (such as Jerusalem artichoke) is important for the stomach health and the overall health of humans, in particular, to help prevent bowel cancer.   

Although I would much prefer to eat a potato than a Jerusalem artichoke, they still make a good substitute for potatoes during the months when potatoes are difficult to grow due to the heat (here in the subtropics) so that can be a real plus for those wanting a root vegetable in season from their backyard. 

And in the end, the reason I keep growing Jerusalem artichokes is because it can substitute for potatoes and it also looks nice in the garden. But to be totally honest I wouldn't call it anything amazing...  

Since writing the above I have now discovered fermenting the root and this is an excellent way to create a great pickled snack and definitely adds more value overall to my opinion of why people should grow it.    

Plant Knowledge Base

I grow/have grown this plant

Where is this plant growing?

In Ground/Raised Bed

What is your Climate?

Sub-Tropical

Organically Grown?

Yes

Fertilisers, Organics, or Other Supplements Used

Blood & bone, heavy mulch, chicken manure,

Favourite way to prepare/eat

Washed well and sliced thinly in salads it gives a pleasant crunch and sweetness. I think it's best cut into segments and fried in butter.

EDIT: I have revisited this review since learning and experimenting with fermentation on the Jerusalem artichoke root. Fermenting the root in small segments is my preferred way to prepare and eat this vegetable.

I was actually amazed at the taste transformation as a result of fermenting the root and I highly recommend you give it a try as it is very easy to do and healthy to eat.

Also, I'm considering dehydrating and then grinding to make Jerusalem artichoke flour this coming season.

Pros & Cons

Pros
Looks lovely in the garden big yellow flowers and tall stems.
Grows fast
Produces a good harvest of tubers
Will grow through middle of summer in sub-tropics when potatoes won't
Cons
Tubers deteriorate quickly after digging up
Flavour isn't fantastic (unless fermented)
Can make you fart and burp (often does) not as much if fermented.

Would You Grow this Plant Again?

Yes

If you purchased plant online - where?

How To Ferment Jerusalem Artichoke
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Plant Knowledge Base
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