Probably 10 years ago we rented a cabin on a trout stream in Georgia for a week’s vacation. Chad and Vince fished, I took along a sewing machine. A ways down from the cabin where we were staying was a cabin where an elderly couple lived. We had walked down the edge of the stream and walked near their property. They came out and talked to us and by the end of the week, they had fixed dinner for us, had us over for pecan pie and the old guy dug up some of his Jerusalem artichokes and sent them home with me to plant.
I had never seen them before but he dug a few, peeled them and had us taste them so I was happy to have some of my own to plant.
We were living in Kentucky and I dug a little plot near the edge of a flower bed and planted them. Big mistake! They’re like mint but maybe worse. They reproduce like crazy. They make a pretty flower and I was happy to have them but learned my lesson about where to plant them.
When we moved from Kentucky to Missouri, I dug some and brought them with me. I planted them in a bed where they were more contained and couldn’t take over and I was much happier with them. In the craziness of our move from Missouri to here, and also because we were moving into a rental and I didn’t have a clue when we would be moving to our own place where I could plant things, I didn’t bring any Jerusalem artichokes with me.
A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to try to find some Jerusalem artichokes but everywhere I looked to order them, they were no longer shipping them and wouldn’t start again til January or some time in the future. I started to post a note on the blog and ask if anyone had any they would send me, knowing that if you’ve ever had one in your yard, you probably have plenty of them to share. I figured that would sound like begging so I didn’t ask but a couple of folks wrote and told me they had extras and would share.
Helen (not THAT Helen!) wrote me and even called the post office to make sure there were no rules against sending them from her to Texas, and she dug some of them from her garden and sent them to me.
Helen apologized for sending so few because they were already sprouting and she wasn’t sure how they would do but this is probably twice as many as I planted my first time and in no time at all, I had enough to supply half the county. These will be just great.
The mail lady brought them early this afternoon. I knew they were going to arrive today so I already had a spot ready to plant them — a spot where they can grow and multiply and will not be in my way ever! They’re planted and I’ll just sit back and wait for them to grow and produce more and we’ll have a lifetime supply of Jerusalem artichokes.
As always, Mother Earth News has a good article about the Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes.
Before you go digging up your back yard and planting a truckload of Jerusalem artichokes, there are some who have tummy issues with them. Here’s an article from Bon Appetit regarding the not so great possible effects they might have on one’s digestive system.
Personally, we have never had problems with them. Mostly we peel and slice them and add them to salads, in which case they are similar in taste and texture to a water chestnut. I’ve also had them fried — sliced thinly, battered and fried, when they reminded me more of a fried potato.
Thank you, Helen, for going to the trouble to dig them and send them to me. We will enjoy them and they will hopefully be a part of our diet for many years!