Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jerusalem Artichokes

I dug my first crop of Jerusalem Artichokes today.Jerusalem artichokes can be a really invasive pest in the garden. They are impossible to get rid of, so even if you do want to grow them it is advisable to plant them next to a fence or in a forgotten corner of your patch. You can happily forget them and they will come up year after year and get bigger and stronger - or at least they do in my London garden.
The name Jerusalem artichokes does not come from the place, but from the fact that they are closely related to sunflowers, the name in European languages for this is Girasole - literally - Gira - to gyrate or turn and the word soleil - the sun... to turn towards the sun. You will notice the flowers start in the morning turned towards the East and in the afternoon towards the West.
To cook arthchokes, they need to be thoroughly cleaned first. This can be difficult due to their nobbly shape. This variety I grow - Fuseau, is supposed to be one of the least nobbliest but still you have to scrub for a while to get them clean. I steam them till cooked and then peel the skin off them when they are cool enough to handle. Serve with melted butter. You can also make a heavenly soup with artichokes, in which case you need not peel them, just pour the cooked artichokes into a blender with vegetable stock. Now this brings me to another point about Jerusalem artichokes... they give you wind! Not just any old slight rumbling, but full blown Olympic gold medal flatulence!! They have a very complex carbohydrate structure which takes a lot of digesting in your intestines. This makes them an ideal food for diabetics (who don't mind the side effects). I just love fartichokes... any way I can prepare and eat them, I do. Hours of harmless fun afterwards with close friends and family!

20 Comments:

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Magic Cochin said...

After having a bad experience after experimenting with grated raw Jerusalem Artichoke in a salad (don't go there!!!!!!) I grubbed all our plants up in disgust and threw them in the council compost wheelie bin!
But you can't keep a good veg down - they're back! I'll give them another go... maybe... mmmmm?

Celia

PS: ours are pink

 
At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

We grow fartichokes too - the flavour is wonderful - but the side effects ...
I read somewhere that if you store them in the fridge for a while the complex carbohydrates have less of an effect - but this maybe wishful thinking.
Thanks for the interesting info re where the name comes from
K.

 
At 1:15 AM, Blogger Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

hahahaha...fartichokes.

 
At 2:14 AM, Blogger Petunia's Gardener said...

He-he-he! So who is in charge here, the plants or the gardener? Enjoy your fun! (I think the plants are getting revenge on me, this fall.) Paula

 
At 2:15 AM, Blogger Petunia's Gardener said...

He-he-he! So who is in charge here, the plants or the gardener? Enjoy your fun! (I think the plants are getting revenge on me, this fall.) Paula

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

They are brilliant roasted too - and added to boiling potatoes to make a double mash - I add them after the potatoes have been cooking for about 5 or 10 minutes because they don't take as long. Drain them mash both together with butter and pepper! Worth opening a few windows for any day!

 
At 11:33 AM, Anonymous easygardener said...

Invasive and windy - nature must have a sense of humour to come up with Jerusalem artichokes. And yet we keep on growing them.

 
At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Soilman said...

Oooooo... delicious. My favourite vegetable.

To eat, that is. An hour later I'm cursing them for the flatulence problem.

 
At 9:02 PM, Blogger RobD said...

I can also recommend steering away from the Jamie Oliver JA Gratin - can still remember the pain afterwards! I think they're best used sparingly in stews

 
At 9:18 PM, Blogger Dan said...

I looked these up and the grow all over the place on the bike trails along the grand river. Very nice plant even if invasive.

 
At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

Its lovely to see that your readers have a sense of humour. I have never tasted Jerusalim Artichokes and in view of what I have read I don't think I ever will. I have enough trouble as it is without making things worse.

 
At 11:26 PM, Blogger Ottawa Gardener said...

Oh man, can I have permission (citing you of course) to use fartichokes! Ha hahaha hahahah. Anyhow, I have read that roasting partially breaks down the inulin. I don't know if this is an urban myth or not but I do not that my cooked F.chokes do not produce much gas.

Thanks for the laugh.

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger Matron said...

Ottawa Gardener - I am flattered, go ahead and spread the humour. I look forward to your post.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog! I answered your question in the comments section. Your catalogs look exciting, I have not started ordering any yet... thanks for the reminder! :)

 
At 6:46 PM, Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

LOL, just blame it on the artichokes. ;-) BTW do you have the botanical name for them so I can find them here? After this wonderful story I must try them out and see if we can blow the roof of the house. :-D

BTW Tara and I had our first lesson this week. I've entered her for puppy training and she's doing quite well. I'm getting her used to everyone and everything, that includes chaps with beards. And we're watching Dogborstal avidly on BBC3. :-)

 
At 1:10 AM, Blogger Gardening Fool said...

With the global energy crisis the side effects (or should I say butt effects?) might be particularly helpful to those that do their commute on bicycles. Can you just imagine? A breakfast of fartichokes & eggs could very well shave off half of your bike commute time to work.

Also, useful for ridding oneself of unwelcome people while one is looking for a moment of quite solace in the garden. "Oh, hi there Mary PRRRRRRRRRRRRR please do have a sit PRRRRRRRRR."

I can see of a few close talkers that this veg may help me teach a lesson to...oh the possibilities!

 
At 11:40 AM, Blogger tina said...

I was wondering about these guys. Many of my friends grow them and have warned me the Jeruselum artichokes can be a pest. I grow Helianthus 'Maximillian' which is not a pest, but you can't eat the roots:( What do they taste like Matron? Potatoes? I've heard they are full of vitamins.

 
At 4:29 PM, Blogger primrozie said...

We haven't eatten ours for a while, but they are going strong on the side of the house.

I think it's very good to have edibles in the landscape should you really need to forage some day ;)

I have purslane, lambs quarters, jerusalem arti - I mean fartichokes, wild onions and garlic, elderberries growing in my immediate area. I use the wild onion and garlic as chives also. We have a decent crop of various berries every other year. Apple trees are everywhere as are walnuts.

 
At 4:46 PM, Blogger Matron said...

Tina - hard to describe the taste, but the taste and texture are very similar to a fresh steamed globe artichoke.

 
At 6:38 PM, Blogger tina said...

Thanks, I've not had artichokes before though. Will for sure have to try it someday.

 

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