Sunchokes (food security,beauty, and preservation tips)

We were back at my beautiful great aunt Donna’s house gathering sunchokes.  I wrote about these gems last fall.  Their other name is Jerusalem artichokes.  I write to you seasonally so the last thing that was available and the first thing that is available seems to be sunchokes!

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These lovely tubers are much like potatoes with a satisfying jicama crunch.  They can be nibbled on plain, sliced and put into salads, or roasted along with carrots and potatoes under a whole chicken in a Dutch oven, which is what I served on Mother’s Day.

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This beautiful flower/food promises food security as well.  During summer and fall their sunflower heads show protectively and regally over the garden beds.  In the spring and fall they provide delicious foods at their roots.  In aunt Donna’s words, “You will never get rid of them!”  Oh, I hope not.  They are such a delight.

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Last fall when I wrote you about these vegetables I placed a few in a sandwich bag.  Then forgot about them.  They went from David’s house to our apartment.  From one vegetable drawer to another.  Seven months later I pulled them out and they are just as fresh and crisp as they were when I harvested them.

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So, to preserve (though I think you can store them in a root cellar just as you would a potato) scrub clean, place dry in gallon freezer bags and store in the refrigerator.  Then you will always have some on hand for cooking, mashing, roasting, slicing, and for summer salads.  Most certainly a great food for any homestead.

Jerusalem Artichokes

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Even though I do not know where we will be next year I transplanted four Jerusalem artichokes, also known as Sunchokes from Aunt Donna’s garden.  They are delicious and easy to grow.  They are easy to transplant and are perennial.  Perennials are the back bone of a garden.  Even if annuals get wiped out during storm or rabbit frenzy, perennials weather through then come back and feed the family.

These beautiful plants are members of the sunflower family (my favorite).  Their stories date back beyond the civil war.  They look like sunflowers but when you dig up their roots in the fall they show off potato-like orbs.  Just snap them off and store in the fridge.  They taste like a cross between potatoes and jicama.  They are as good mashed into potatoes as they are sliced thin in salads.  They are a great source of potassium and offer protein and inulin as well.

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I like them in soups, stirfrys, mashed, sliced, raw with most of the dirt wiped off on one’s apron, or along with vegetables being slow roasted with maple syrup.

Jerusalem artichokes are a lovely addition to any garden.