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!