Thursday, 25 January 2018

Sunchokes (Helianthus tuberosus)

If you visit the little field, you will see a big clump of sunchokes.  More commonly known as Jerusalem artichokes, they are not related to artichokes, and are native to the northeastern U.S. They are actually tubers of a perennial sunflower that produces edible low-starch tubers that look like small potatoes and taste like water chestnuts.  They are very easy to grow, although the flowers are small and unassuming on top of these tall 5-10 feet high plants. Once established, they are fairly drought resistant.

The sunchoke is best planted in a dedicated bed as they spread rapidly and may be difficult to remove completely.  I learnt this the hard way, as I removed a bed of these growing by my garage and was careless with where I put the soil and tubers.  Soon we had huge clumps of them growing in mad abandon in several different places, which required a great deal of work to remove.

Sunchokes will keep in the fridge for 7-10 days.  They can be frozen or left in the ground, and can be harvested between September and March.

They are great for soup, and here is a recipe to try:

Sunchoke and Garlic Soup 
Serves 8
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound sunchokes, scrubbed and chopped
2 small waxy potatoes (such as Yukon Gold, red or new potatoes), scrubbed and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3-5 cloves garlic, chopped
Pinch dried red chili flakes
6 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
Salt & pepper

Fresh chopped baby kale for garnish
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over high. Add the sunchokes, potatoes, and onion. Sauté about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and optional chili flakes, and continue cooking until the vegetables are lightly browned. Add the stock and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to low. When soup settles into a simmer, cover and cook until the potatoes and sunchokes are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and then process the soup either with an immersion blender, or in a blender in small batches, until smooth. Check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, as desired.
Garnish and serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All about Calendula

Calendula is such a cheerful plant with its beautiful hues of yellow and orange. All summer and well into the fall we have an abundance...