Sunchokes

This root is probably one of my favorite root vegetables around.  I have been growing this in my garden for the past two years with great success.  It grows like a weed but can easily be controlled as long as you remember to dig up all the tubers in the middle of winter.  Last year, after it snowed numerous times, I went out to the garden to try to find some to add to dinner, and with four plants planted in the early spring, I ended up with a dozen little sunchokes.

This year I actually had one plant that grew to over 10 feet and flowered.  This species of sunflower, with no relation to the artichoke, is also refereed to as a Jerusalem Artichoke, and are native to the Eastern parts of North America.  The tuber resembles ginger, but when eaten raw, it tastes like water chestnuts, when cooked, it tastes like a mild artichoke.

The tuber also has the ability to create ethanol fuel, are an important source of fructose, and store the carbohydrate inulin (not to be confused with insulin) instead of starch.

Sunchoke Flower

Sunchoke Flower

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