It has continued to get busier in the greenhouses the past two weeks. Today, Beki divided the roots or tubers of this huge Jerusalem Artichoke (sometimes called Sunchokes) stock plant so that we will have some 2 gallon pots of these for sale in the Farm Stand Store.
You can see where I scraped aside the soil away from the tops of the tubers (which look a bit greenish from being exposed to some light).
Jerusalem Artichokes are pretty darn tasty. They have firm white flesh and a thin skin that looks a bit like ginger, although these plants are completely unrelated. Jerusalem Artichokes are part of the sunflower family. Some of the perennial sunflower members of this family have fleshy tubers for roots. To eat them, you can peel the tubers, slice them and eat them raw as a finger food like carrot sticks or dice them into a salad. You can also add them to stir-fry similar to how you might add water chestnuts. You can cook them in any way you would cook a potato. Some people think they taste like potatoes, but I would say they taste like their own selves…still really good. One of my favorite ways to prepare them is to peel them, cook them in boiling water until tender. Once they are done, mash them with some garlic butter, add a generous amount of sour cream and some shredded parmesan cheese and stir in well. Serve as you would mashed potatoes. Perfect!
If you like the idea of cooking with Jerusalem Artichokes, also take a minute to check out the “Recipes” page of this blog for other delicious ways to cook in your kitchen with plants.
Jerusalem Artichokes are about as easy as can be to grow. Find a good spot in the garden where you don’t mind if they spread, because they will, and plant them about 5 inches deep. They can be planted at any time that the soil can be worked, so spring thru fall works. Then let them grow. Harvest at any time the ground is thawed enough that you can dig it. Lift out the tubers, trim off the stems, and take them to the kitchen to use.
If you don’t want them spreading into a patch in your garden, then grow them as I do in a big container. This keeps them manageable and they are very easy to harvest. Plus they are cheerful to look at in the garden. They get very tall stems and bloom with small yellow sunflower blooms. If you harvest the whole container of tubers, as Beki did today, then just add fresh soil to your container and plant back three or four tubers that will multiply into more tubers as they grow. Simple. Because they are perennial and very hardy, if you use a big container that has some mass to the amount of soil in it, you can winter them over outdoors with no trouble, just remember to water them about once a month if there isn’t any snow moisture to do the task for you.
Last week Lizz and I planted 6000 bare-root strawberry plants of the Eversweet and Ft. Laramie varieties. First the roots have to be trimmed so that the plants will fit into the pot.
This year we are following our friend Jere’s tip and dipping the trimmed plants into a vat of kelp solution, as this helps to lessen the trimming shock to the roots. Jere is one of the growers at Tagawa’s Garden Center in Centennial, CO.
Then we planted the little plants into these very large 6-packs, where they will leaf out and root in and grow happily ever after!
Next week we will plant 1000 more strawberry plants, but this time they will be the variety Tristar. We also will be planting raspberries, elderberries, wine and table grapes, sand cherries, currants, and loads of herbs. Things are hopping around here.
And at the end of a busy work day it’s time to relax in front of the wood stove fire with my 4-legged friends… Shrek the dog, Willie Willow the black cat and Pal the gray cat. Sadie our other kitty thought it was beneath her to cuddle up with two feisty young cats and a dog, so she went to bed early!