The Sunchoke is a native sunflower in the eastern North America. Unlike the other sunflowers we normally plant in the garden, the best part is not the seeds, it’s the roots (tubers).
Sometimes called Jerusalem Artichokes or Sunroots, Sunchokes were first cultivated by the American Indians long before the arrival of Europeans.
Sunchoke tubers are often used as a substitute for potatoes, but I think they have a sweeter, nuttier flavor. I love to eat them raw, alone as a snack or sliced up into a salad. Do not over cook them or they can get mushy.
The tubers store the carbohydrates as inulin instead of starch. Inulin cannot be broken down by the human digestive system making Sunchokes a great food that does not spike your blood sugar. Wash and scrub the dirt off of the tubers to prepare, the skin is very thin and does not need to be pealed.
Each Sunchoke plant can produce up to 5-lbs. of tubers. Leaving a few behind while harvesting is all that is needed to make sure you have a new crop next year.
Sunchokes are easy to grow, just leave them completely alone. These native plants do not need special care, but they will do best in quality topsoil. I planted the tubers pictured at the 40 acre woods this year.
After the plant stops blooming in the summer you can start harvesting tubers. Harvest only what you need, they will continue to be available and grow larger through the fall allowing you to store them in the ground.