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Jerusalem Artichokes


Yesterday on one of my favorite blogs Ciao Chow Linda I read of her trip to Italy and a wonderful dish she ate with Jerusalem artichokes in it. These are small tubers that are actually not related to the big, fat green artichokes we see in supermarkets everywhere. I was lucky enough to taste Jerusalem artichokes when I was a pastry chef. The chefs I worked for loved them. They really are delicious and worth seeking out.

Linda mentioned in her story that she was curious where to get them in New Jersey and

that piqued my curiosity, so I went spelunking on the internet as I usually do when on the hunt for a certain food or its uses. I found them easily at Whole Foods, so maybe you can too.

I also found to my delight that our gardening zone in the Northeast supports the plants which gardeners report are easy to grow and have enormous yields. I have a teeny garden in my back yard, and Laura has one in her front yard, as some of our readers know from her previous posts. I’m looking forward to ordering some plants here when they ship this spring.

Incidentally the name Jerusalem artichokes may have nothing to do with the city of Jerusalem and more to do with the corruption of the word “girasole” which means “turning to the sun” in Italian. Apparently the small tubers, part of the Sunflower family of plants are also called sunchokes or sun roots in some cultures and have a history reaching back to the sixteenth or seventeenth century, possibly having been cultivated first by Native Americans.

If you’re lucky enough to find them near you, here’s a simple recipe.

see also: Tomatoes at my Front Door

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Easy to grow is certainly right. They’ll even produce a modest crop in dry, shady soil in my London garden. But beware, they’re terrible spreaders and hard to get rid of if you ever want to move them. Ours have started popping up through cracks in the patio.

Very tasty if roasted till sticky though.

    – Karen (February 22 2010 at 4:35)

Thanks for the shout-out first of all. Thanks also for letting us know that WHole Foods sells them. I will go there this week to find them. That salad recipe looks pretty great too.

    – ciaochowlinda (February 22 2010 at 9:09)

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