Jerusalem artichokes

Posted: Friday 18 October 2013
by Kate Bradbury

Last week, on my dad’s allotment, I took the opportunity to harvest some Jerusalem artichokes.

Last week, on my dad’s allotment, I took the opportunity to harvest some Jerusalem artichokes. My dad grows them as a windbreak to protect his crops, but doesn’t bother harvesting them to eat (he doesn’t like them).

Muttering about how Jerusalem artichokes are wasted when used solely as a windbreak, I filled my bags with beautiful red ‘Gerard’ and white ‘Fuseautubers to lug home on the train. 

I love Jerusalem artichokes, but as sun-loving relatives of the sunflower, they aren’t suitable for growing in my shady garden. They’re grown from tubers, like potatoes, but are much easier to grow than spuds. There’s no real need to earth them up, they don’t need much water and if you leave a few tubers in the ground they will readily propagate themselves. They might need staking if grown on particularly windy sites, but my dad never bothers and he lives on the east coast.

Tall-growing, they do make a good windbreak or screen, and with sunflower-like blooms in summer they are an attractive and wildlife-friendly crop to grow on the allotment. But they're also delicious to eat. (They are famous for their after-effects, but if you incorporate winter savoury into your dish you will help reduce the problem.)

I love roasting them, as well as sautéing them and eating them like chips, and using them to make a delicious creamy soup. The other day I made a warming Jerusalem artichoke and horseradish soup. Not bad for food harvested from a windbreak.

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oldchippy 18/10/2013 at 10:46

Hi Kate so they break the wind twice then.

tins 18/10/2013 at 12:30

It's very easier to grow them than to get rid of them.

oldchippy 24/10/2013 at 11:43

talk about wind we went to look at some new houses yesterday and in front of the show house 3 trees newly planted had blown over and 2 fence panels had come out as well,I think it may be time to look else where.

Random Mike 05/01/2014 at 16:05

I found they did well even in shade infact historically they were planted in places that were no good for other crops, the only difference was the tubers were a little smaller, they are so very easy to crop and just a few bits thrown back made them come back each year. I've heard they are hard to get rid off but apart from the farting i love em. although early medieval writers were more scathing on the subject.

"which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a
filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the
belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine
than men."