Jerusalem Artichoke

Latin name: Helianthus tuberosus


  • sunflower like flower
  • 10′ tall
  • white skin

Location: Vegetable garden

Origin: native to South America


  • useful as bean poles

Maintenance: mulch with grass clippings or leaves when 12″ tall; dig in late fall for best flavor at least two weeks after your first hard freeze; rinse and pat dry then store in refrigerator or root cellar; lop off flowers for cut flowers to keep them from self seeding; replant small tubers

Preparation: Try cutting your largest tubers into matchsticks for slaw or grating them into not-really-potato pancakes. Fry sliced Jerusalem artichokes as you would potatoes, or bake slices in a low-temperature oven for a long period of time to make “potato” chips. Medium-sized Jerusalem artichokes that have numerous bumps and knobs can be boiled whole in their skins and then mashed and sieved to form the basis for Jerusalem artichoke soup, which many say is the best way to eat the veggie. Rather than struggling to peel small, knobby tubers, scrub them well and then roast them with a little olive oil and sea salt. After they’ve cooled, eat them as finger food by squeezing the soft middle into your mouth — a North American food practice that dates back more than 1,000 years.

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