The Sunchoke that Ate My Garden

March 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm Leave a comment

Sunchokes are related to sunflowers and blossom as such.

The Mighty Sunchoke

I dug in the garden today, March 11, because it was close to 70 degrees here in Colorado Springs. Glorious to spread compost – there’s a worm party in my pile! I put a light layer of organic fertilizer in there as well.

As I’m moving down the row, I get to the place where the sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes) grow. I keep trying to quell them, but they insist on coming back every year.

As usual, I dug down and found a bigger patch than ever! After half an hour of digging and sifting, I probably pulled out 30 pounds of those suckers.

The sunchoke is a vegetable that provides a bit of a quandary, but I’ll get to that in a moment. First, the good news: Sunchokes look like a cross between ginger root and a potato. The flavor is potato-like, but a bit more earthy. It does not need to be peeled and can be eaten raw or cooked. They are delicious sliced and sauteed in a little bit of butter, but you can also boil and puree them with broth and spices or roast them in the oven.

The quandary comes in the form of gas, and I don’t mean petrol. Sunchokes can cause a digestive reaction that is uncomfortable for some, but not everyone, and it seems to depend on how they are cooked. My personal experience is that if I eat them once in a while, and cook them pretty well, there’s no issue. I assume there are no guarantees that everyone will react the same way.

So, now I have approximately 30 pounds of sunchokes ready to do something with. That’s, of course, way more than I will be able to use, so I’m going to try to pawn them off on my friends and garden centers.

One more bonus – sunchokes are in the sunflower family, so they get tall and get a really beautiful sunflower on top in the late summer. It’s an architectural plant that looks great in the garden, in the right spot, maybe as a windbreak for your more tender annual edibles.

Enjoy!

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Entry filed under: Eating, Gardening.

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