By Mary Tucker

All the vegetables in my garden have been harvested, even those that withstand Delaware County’s frosty nights: carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. But I still have Jerusalem artichokes, also called sun chokes or giresol, a type of sunflower-like plant having yellow-rayed flower heads and edible tubers. A perennial, definitely not like the large-headed long-stemmed plant that gives us edible, sunflower seeds. Italian immigrants called the plant girasol as the flower head turns toward the sun. It is native to North America; not from Jerusalem as the name seems to imply.

Jerusalem Artichokes can be a nuisance, spreading like a weed and competing with other crops. Bill Piervincenzi gave me some tubers several years ago. I planted them in an isolated spot away from other gardens. Each fall, I dig out the tubers, and each spring more grow from bits of tubers left in the ground. I harvest after frost, taking care to avoid cuts and bruises on tubers. They can be stored several months in a storage place having high humidity and a temperature near 32 degrees. You may store them in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks, wrapped in paper towels and sealed in a plastic storage bag. Canning and freezing are not recommended. Jerusalem Artichokes can be used in many ways: sliced raw for salads, in soups, roasted or fried like potatoes. They should be eaten as soon as they are cooked, when they taste the best.

Look on the “net” for recipes. It’s surprising how many there are. ~