Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Jerusalem Artichokes, aka Sunchokes, by Melinda

Jerusalem artichokes, also called Sunchokes, are sold in some specialty markets, but we'll have some fresh from the ground and grown organically by a Farm member.  This plant is in the sunflower family, producing flowers that look like small sunflowers and smell like chocolate!

The edible part, however, is the underground tubers, which look a little bit like potatoes but have a texture rather like a water chestnut, kind of crisp and crunchy.  They can be eaten raw or cooked.  Either way, you want to scrub them well (an unused toothbrush works well to get into crevices), break off any sprouts or shoots, though you do NOT have to peel them.  Some chokes have a reddish, indented end on them--that's where they were attached to the mother plant, so you can just cut that end off.  Then slice, dice, saute, whatever--you can even shred and dry them in a dehydrator for later use in salads, soups, stews, stir-fry, or other recipes.
Sunchoke tubers in all shapes/sizes

Roasted Sunchokes

  • 2 or 3 large sunchokes (or the equivalent in smaller chokes), scrubbed, peeled & sliced 1/4 in. thick
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
Preheat oven to 425. Add sunchoke slices & garlic to roasting pan with olive oil & toss till chokes and pan bottom are coated with oil. Add more oil as necessary, till most everything is coated. Sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake for 15-20 min., till sunchokes are a bit browned and are tender on the inside like a potato. For more Sunchoke recipes, click here and here.
Roasted Sunchokes
By the way, you also can save some of the raw sunchokes, break them into pieces that each have an eye or sprout on them, and plant them, either in a large heavy container, or in the ground.  They can get quite tall, so putting them against a wall or fence is helpful.  As well, they do spread over the years, unless you have them in containers, which makes it easier to control them.

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