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Introducing Jerusalem Artichoke

January 31st, 2008, 12:51 PM
According to one of my garden books, this plant has been incorrectly named. It is neither from Jerusalem nor is it an artichoke.

It is a relative of the Sunflower family, and it's roots are edible, much like potatoes.

I'm holding out hope that perhaps someone somewhere in Canada has some extra tubers to share. I'd hate to resort to buying, but will if I have to. This stuff is survival food! :laughing: I plan on giving it it's own huge space to just multiply as much as it wants to. It has pretty flowers, is mega tall and very useful.

Read the bold highlighted area below - note to diabetics - this vegetable can pretty much replace potatoes and not cause trouble with blood sugar.

I was able to watch a garden tv show from the UK called "Grow Your Own Veg." And an elderly couple had a ton of those things in their garden. They dug some up, peeled, cut and fried them like potatoes and wow did it ever look tasty! I'll make a short video excerpt of that part for YouTube viewing.

Hands up... who knows what Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus), "j-chokes" or "sunchokes" are? Originating in North America, this perennial relative of the sunflower has nothing to do with the holy city of Jerusalem. The Jerusalem" is likely a corruption of the Italian work girasole or sunflower and "artichoke" may be indicative of its similarity in taste to real artichokes, although not everyone would agree. The North American natives wild-collected and cultivated these tubers extensively and ate them boiled, roasted, or sometimes raw. The natives introduced them to the early settlers and they were taken back to Europe around the 16th century where they were more popular than potatoes for quite some time.

This is an extremely attractive addition to the garden. Plants have deep green lancelolate foliage with 3" bright yellow, single sunflowers and can reach 10' in height making an instant living fence. Much like potatoes, sunchokes are grown by planting peices of the tubers (with at least one eye) in the Spring. Plant your pieces 14-18" apart, and really, there's not much to do after that! Sunchokes like to spread, often given the "invasive" label, so best to find an area where they can roam free or be easily controlled. Annual harvesting and re-planting helps with this issue.

I usually harvest either in the late fall after frost has hit the plants a couple of times, or in the Spring once the soil can be dug as a refreshing treat after a winter of eating potatoes. J-chokes are known for their high inulin content, which is a great thing for folks who have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels (i.e. diabetics). A suitable substitute for other starchy foods, such as potatoes or pasta, which may cause people problems.

January 31st, 2008, 01:14 PM
high inulin content, which is a great thing for folks who have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels (i.e. diabetics).

Is this a misprint for inSulin, or is someone mixing something up here?

Never grew them myself, but they are good to eat, so if you can get some go for it!

January 31st, 2008, 03:01 PM
it's late in the afternoon, which is my only excuse for this... i quickly looked at the title of the thread and thought... "Jerusalem Artichoke. now that's a strange name for a pet". like you were "introducing" a new pet or something. THEN I realized this was in the Gardening section... oops, my bad. :rolleyes:

January 31st, 2008, 03:31 PM
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Not to be confused with insulin.

Inulins are a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides (several simple sugars linked together) produced by many types of plants.[1] They belong to a class of fibers known as fructans. Inulin is used by some plants as a means of storing energy and is typically found in roots or rhizomes. Most plants which synthesize and store inulin do not store other materials such as starch.

A cup of these little beauties will give you 28% of your recommended daily intake of iron. They are also high in thiamin, phosphorus, and potassium, with vitamin C, magnesium, niacin, vitamin B6 and riboflavin.

If that isn't enough, they're recommended for people with insulin resistant diabetes (Type 2). That's because their carbohydrates are stored as something called inulin. Inulin is a fructan or fructose. The body breaks it down slowly so your blood sugar doesn't rapidly increase as it does with white potatoes. It is also rumoured they are a probiotic. In other words, they're good for the helpful little critters in your intestine.

January 31st, 2008, 09:40 PM
Just as a cautionary note........

But it does sound good.

February 1st, 2008, 10:10 AM
I've never considered the J.A. but reading this makes me think I should!

If indeed they can become invasive as the Ontario Government reports, perhaps as a pot plant.... hmm

If I had any I would definitely share them, CearaQC - but I don't (yet) :D

February 1st, 2008, 11:31 AM
Personally I don't care if they become a weed here. If you could only see our fields... they are full of weeds already. I would rather see a field of sunflower type flowers than what's there currently. Plus the seed heads will be bird food.

I found a supplier in New Brunswick and will be ordering 1 lb of tubers in May. They charge $8.50 for 1 pound of tubers. And $11 a pound for the red types.

Mapple Farm
129 Beech Hill Rd.
Weldon NB Canada E4H 4N5

They will email you a text copy of their catalog. They have lots of interesting stuff there!

February 1st, 2008, 01:02 PM
Have you had a look at Vessey's? They are a mail-order garden supply and have excellent quality plants. I've ordered tons from them (literally!) They are in PEI. I can't say for sure if they have the J.A but they are definitely worth looking at..

BTW - my winter aconites are blooming :D

February 1st, 2008, 01:19 PM
I adore Veseys for their veggie seeds, but have been disappointed with their live plants and bulbs. Have had to get refunds for many things. But their customer service is superb and the people are always nice and the shipments are quick! The only bulbs I like getting from them from time to time are the $5 and $10 specials at the backs of the bulb catalogs for the lilies. They are usually only first blooming season bulbs and quite small, but lilies are tough and multiply fast.

Many times I've opened up the orders only to see they packed something in there that we didn't order! Freebies! :laughing: I always call them and let them know when that happens and we have a good laugh over it. Last year it was a pack of Allium "Firecracker" bulbs and something else.

One day I'd love to travel to PEI and see Vesey's display and trial gardens.

But no, they do not have the Jerusalem Artichoke.

Now, McFayden carried the J.A. in last year's catalog, but I don't have the new catalog yet to see if they are still carrying that item.

February 1st, 2008, 03:17 PM
I'm surprised about the problems with your orders from Vesseys - I've ordered about 95% of my 2,000 bulbs from them and have never had a problem! Go figure.

I looked at McFaydens - they've got some nice stuff there for sure!

Now I'm getting the gardening itch but will have to wait, sigh...