Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cooking with Jerusalem Artichokes

The trouble with some crops is that they are too abundant and you face the issue of what to do with a gigantic harvest. The problem is compounded when you admit to yourself that you not quite sure where they fit it into your everyday meals (read: I don't really like the taste or smell etc). I have always felt this way about Jerusalem Artichokes. They are easy to grow, have attractive small sunflowers in autumn and produce unbelievable quantities of gnarly cream-coloured edible rhizomes. No matter how thorough your harvest of these rhizomes even the tiniest fragment left in the soil will re-sprout next spring making Jerusalem Artichokes an indestructible perennial vegetable and weedy to boot.
A gnarly pot-grown Jerusalem Artichoke

This year I grew Jerusalem Artichokes in two large pots. I pretty much neglected them and on hot days they wilted and looked awful. In fact by the end of summer the plants were not especially robust looking and I didn't expect much of a harvest. Yesterday I tipped them out of their pots and what emerged was a decent crop after all - around 30 medium sized rhizomes. Now although I don't mind baked artichoke roots and I have used them sliced raw in salads they generally don't inspire me. (And this lack of inspiration isn't because of the "gas" they cause, you know "Fartichokes"...).

Only once have I really enjoyed JAs and this was when a friend cooked up a French soup recipe using blended JAs with lots of cream. It was delicious and there was a distinctive artichoke flavour that made them seem like a worthwhile crop to have on hand. So yesterday I searched for JA recipe on the internet and found a recipe at is apparently a well-know cooking blog and had a great discussion on the use of JAs in French cooking, especially for survival cooking during the First World War.  I used Canna tubers and one potato along with the artichokes but otherwise I followed the recipe quite closely. The resulting soup was nourishing and tasty. For this recipe alone I will grow Jerusalem Artichokes with a little more effort next year.


  1. I really enjoyed these gnarly little buggers baked, especially when we wrapped them in foil and baked them in a fire. Fartychokes will definitely be in the tray next time I cook a roast.
    I would be interested to know how long you can keep them, and if they need to be kept in the fridge?
    Great blog.

  2. Sounds like a lot more bang for the buck than regular globe artichokes.