I am now offering Jerusalem Artichokes (Sun chokes) for sale. I sell them for a very low price of $10.00/lb with free S/H. Residential pick up or USPS shipment. Scroll down for instant purchase "Buy Now" button or Call Woo at 508-240-1014 for availability. For those of you who are unfamiliar with sunchokes I will provide a recap of this product below:
The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus Tuberosus), is also known as sun choke, sun root, earth apple or topinambour. It is a North American sunflower also found in Canada and Europe. It is grown in the temperate zone for its tuber which is an eatable crop similar to the potato. It is not an artichoke nor is it from Jerusalem.
It is a very tall plant similar to the sunflower growing to as much as 10 or more feet. Yellow flowers are produced late in the fall which are 2 - 4 inches in diameter, with 10 - 20 ray florets. The stalk is strong and hairy and normally needs no staking. Its tubers vary greatly in size from very small to eating size of 3 - 4 inches in length and 1 - 2 inches thick. Their shape is elongated, but smaller ones are often round. All are irregular ( knobby) in a pale brown to white color. Some varieties have a red to purple tint. They resemble the ginger root. The leaves are heart shaped, toothy, and 4 - 10 inches long.
This native from North America was popular in Colonial times being a dependable food source that grew from tubers left in the ground after harvesting. The Indians were thought to be the first to use the chokes for foods. As their popularity spread to Europe, the French did much to improve the strain with their cultivation techniques. In Germany by the end of the 19th century chokes were used to make "Jerusalem artichoke brandy".
The tuber is the only part of the plant that is used for human consumption. They are a tasty substitute for potatoes with a similar consistency. However, they are popular eaten raw for salads in thin slices and have s sweet nutty flavor somewhat like a water chestnut.
Chefs have provided many recipes for cooking chokes with roasting and frying in olive oil and seasonings being the most popular. Google the internet for details. Chokes have about 10% protein, not much starch, and no oil. This is a healthy root vegetable is a great source of carbohydrates which stores inulin rather than insulin as its starch. This makes it a better choice for diabetics over potatoes. Pluses for this food include low calories, no fat, high in thiamin, niacin, iron, potassium, and vitamin C. A 1 cup serving contains about 110 calories. Try them you'll like them. When buying them, don't be fooled by the knobby appearance. They should be clean, smooth and firm. There is no need to peel them. Just wash and clean with a vegetable brush.
Sunchokes can be grown in zones 4 - 9, but they are sort of perennials since they come up from tubers left in the ground or can be grown most place by replanting tuber harvested in the fall. Take note! They can become very invasive under many conditions since their roots can extend quite far from the base of the plant and produce tubers. Solution is to put in a deep barrier to prevent spreading, or grow in large pots, or grow where spreading is no worry such as a field. Size of the tuber to plant is not a big problem since even small tubers produce large plants. In a new bed pick a location with plenty of sun where the tall plants will not shade other plants. Can be used to provide privacy when plants are grown. Soil should be very lose, sandy, and high in compost which should be replenished yearly. Compacted high clay content soil makes it difficult for the plant to produce tubers and you to harvest them.
Once you have determined the appropriate plot for your chokes plant them initially 1 foot apart in rows 2-3 feet apart. Put tubers 3 - 5 inches deep. Spring planting a couple of weeks before last frost works. I have even planted in late fall with success. Future planting will depend upon how many small tubers you leave in the ground at harvest time. Even small pieces of tuber will grow into large plant the next year. That is why they are invasive. Water them normally in your garden, but they do tolerate drought. Give them a shot of water if the leaves droop.
They take about 5 months to mature.
They are best harvested after a couple of frosts. This tends to make the tubers sweeter for eating. Cut the stalks about 1 foot from the ground and loosen the root ball carefully with a pitch fork or shovel to avoid damaging the chokes. Shake off the dirt and remove the chokes.
Sometimes the chokes are quite deep or extend a foot or two from the plant. Follow and thick roots. Often there are chokes found on the ends. Digging around the hole with your hands works well to locate the chokes. Remember the small chokes are good for planting and will grow if left in the ground.
Brush off dirt and store at a cool temperature in the refrigerator. The vegetable drawer works very well. Putting them in a Ziploc bag wrapped with a damp paper towel keep them hard for months. Another good way is to store them buried in box of damp sand in the garage where it is nice and cool all winter. I use a Styrofoam box. I have also had success just planting them in large pots after harvesting. Experiment to find what works best for you. The idea is to keep them fresh and hard not soft. Wash and clean with a vegetable brush before eating.