Of ‘Chokes and Chickens

As summer draws to a close, there is one thing I am looking forward to in the garden. The Jerusalem artichoke harvest.

The Jerusalem artichoke is a potato-like tuber that is a relative of the sunflower. The flowers are smaller, but the plant gets taller than its cousin.

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The tubers are smallish, contain no starch and the carbohydrate is in the form of inulin-a group of naturally occurring simple sugars. Inulin does not elevate blood sugar levels and is helpful in managing diabetes.

Here’s the good part – when raw, it tastes sort of like a water chestnut and when cooked, it gets the texture of a tater with a slightly sweet and nutty taste. We’ve already sampled them raw and they are delicious.

To eat these ‘chokes you scrub ’em, don’t peel ’em then boil, bake or grate ’em.

Even if you aren’t going to eat them (for some crazy reason) the plant is also beautiful and useful as a windbreak for the garden. Next year we are going to take more advantage of this trait.

The flowers are a beautiful, bright yellow and can be used as a ‘cut flower’. I’m not sure if this is true, but some say cutting the flowers off will increase the crop yield.

To regrow, just cut a chunk with an eye off and leave it in the soil for the next year. How easy is that!? Like the autumn olive, it can become ‘invasive’ so you should be careful to plant it where you want it to grow.

Once the tops start to die back it’s time to harvest. Since it looks as though we will have quite a few, we’ll need to store the extras in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge. And of course, we will be sharing them with our friends and family…especially a little girl I know who has juvenile diabetes.

The chickens will get the tops.

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Chickens get a treat
A yummy snack to munch on
They don’t get the root

3 responses to “Of ‘Chokes and Chickens

  1. Pingback: Artichoke Harvest | a pinch of homestead

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