Tuesday, March 29, 2011

First harvest

A bucket full of 'chokes

Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, are the first crop I can harvest in any year. I went out last weekend (March 26) and found that the ground was snow-free and ready to dig anywhere the 'chokes are in the earth.
I'm going to dig around with my hands here.

Sunchokes are in the sunflower family. They are the easiest things IN THE WORLD to grow. You basically dig a little hole, maybe double the depth of the tuber, throw the tuber in and cover it with dirt. I say dirt, because it really doesn't have to be soil, per se. They'd probably like to get some water now and again, but even that seems to be optional.
Really, that's all there is to it.

Stalks shoot up from the tubers and grow to around 7 or 8 feet high. They will be covered with little, 2 inch yellow flowers later in the summer. The deer will prune any that stick out from the fence.

I only put them in areas where they won't compete with anything else, and I ALWAYS dig the tubers every spring. One tuber creates quite a mass of offspring, so I don't know what would happen if I left all of them in the ground.

Slice 'em and eat 'em.
After soaking five minutes in water.
I read that the starches convert to sugar underground over the winter, and they do seem quite sweet, crunchy and slightly nutty. You could probably dig them in the late fall/early winter too, but sometimes the ground is frozen by then.

1 comment:

  1. This is awfully exciting - how do eat the darlings? I've never had one. They look a bit like water chestnuts.