This Harvesting Jerusalem Artichoke Sunchoke post explains how to harvest this interesting tuberous plant and how to store and prepare the tubers.
From One Tuber
Last year I put in one tuber of Jerusalem artichoke. This year I have hundreds. They spread like mad, so make sure you don’t put them in an area that they can take over and kill out or smother other plants.
The tubers look like the tubers on canna or ginger root, but are a little smaller. While harvesting Jerusalem artichoke sunchoke, if you miss even one small piece, it will grow into many more plants.
The tubers have a lot of inulin in them, so they are mildly sweet but will not spike your blood sugar like a lot of other sweet or starchy foods. Be warned though, inulin does not set well with some people and can ferment in the stomach causing gas, sometimes severe.
How do you Eat Them?
Jerusalem artichoke can be eaten raw or cooked. They are generally sliced thin with the skin still on and put on salads. One way I heard to try them was to use a cheese grader and then sprinkle them on a salad. I’ll have to try that.
They can be boiled and used as a potato substitute, but boiling makes them a little mushy. If you steam them, they have a little better consistency.
The plant itself is in the sunflower family and has small yellow flowers that are a little larger than a quarter dollar. They will grow to ten feet tall, as we already mentioned, they have a spreading habit and can become invasive. They like fertile soil and full sun.
In order to harvest them, just dig down and start pulling them up. They will grow just below the surface, down to as much as a foot or more in depth. I put mine in in a gallon ziplock bag. They store ok in the refrigerator for a week or so. If they sit too long, they start breaking down into a starch and lose the crispness.
For longer term storage, they can be frozen, but the best long term storage is just to leave them in the ground.
When to Harvest
The best time to go about harvesting Jerusalem artichoke sunchoke is after a few frosts. They can be left in the ground over the winter and harvested all the way up to mid-Spring. After mid-Spring, they start using the stored energy in the tubers and the tuber quality goes down. Eventually, the tuber will be spent and become almost hollow. When this happens, it is a good time to pull out the excess plants, because there will not be enough energy left in the tubers to grow new plants. This is one effective way to control the spread of these plants.
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