Nothing beats pan fried Jerusalem Artichokes and I’ve been growing them for donkeys years and what an easy crop to grow. I have never had a problem growing them, ever.
They do get a fungal disease called Sclerotina which a white fluffy mould can grow on them and they begin to rot at the base turn yellow and wilt. The scary news is this will stay in your soil for a long time, so best to dig up the whole thing plus soil and pop it in the green bin and not compost it. The temparatures that regular compost heaps generate won’t kill the mould so just bin it all off – But I’ve never seen it on my crop.
The Jerusalem Artichoke (Heliantus Tuberosus) like most things is known by other names, sunroof, sunchoke, earth apple or Topinambour and belongs to the sunflower species! That’s why it grows so so tall, mine get to over 2 meters tall but never flower I believe they can do. Some people recommend giving them some support if it’s windy they can fall over, well I grow them on a pretty exposed spot and don’t really have a problem, but a few garden canes and some string will keep them up. They are great if you want a bit of privacy as they get so tall and dense and make a lovely swishing sound in the breeze.
My patch has been in place for about 7 years and come back every single year. I only dig up a small amount each year, they multiply under ground. You can get the tubers from good garden centres and plant them in March or April time, even better if you can get a few tubers from a fellow gardener. But bare in mind, they are very much like potatoes and if you just want to a few to try out one season make sure you dig every single one of them up as they are pretty suborn and will grow back next spring.
But as a whole I leave them to it, I give them some manure over winter and no protection. I cut them down in late winter when they start looking annoying and I have never had a problem.
So why grow them?
Apart from the fact they are extremely tasty, think potato but wonderfully nutty. They are packed with Potassium, high in iron, a great source of fibre and are different to most tubers as they aren’t packed with starchy carbs. They have Inulin instead, which is totally different from Insulin which helps you absorb calcium and helps you grow healthy intestinal bacteria too plus if you suffer from Diabetes they could be a nice alternative to potatoes as they do not affect blood sugar.
I am so looking forward to Sunday lunch with roasted lamb and Jerusalem Artichoke plus all the trimmings and yes, Yorkshire Puddings too!
A quick recipe for you!
Jerusalem Artichokes In Butter and Garlic
Serve a side dish for 4
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
450 g Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed, sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with the olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the sliced Jerusalem artichokes and sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper.
Sauté for about 10 minutes until they are brown and just beginning to soften. You’ll need to turn them quite a bit, then scoop into a bowl. Add the remaining butter and garlic to the pan and fry the garlic until it is just golden – this shouldn’t take longer than two minutes, so don’t burn it! Add the lemon juice and simmer for another 30 seconds. Spoon the butter mixuture over the Jerusalem artichokes and serve. Xxx