• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Ash Jackson
  • Kate Downham

The great big thread of sunchoke info - growing, storing, eating/recipes, science facts

 
gardener
Posts: 3110
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
340
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pearl Sutton wrote:I was pulling weeds by my sunchokes the other day, noticed the woodchuck has been knocking some over to eat the leaves. Saw something interesting! The plants that are just bent over and didn't die are not only leafing upward and the leaf clumps are turning into new upward stalks, but the stem is rooting. I'll bet a LOT of money they can be propagated by layering, AND I'm wondering if it was done carefully in the early season, if they'd grow tubers all along the length of the stalk.
Can we increase the number of tubers harvested if we increase the root area of a plant by laying it down and covering it?
Experiments need to be done!! That's a cool concept!!



This makes me wonder how they would react to the "potato tower" treatment.
No doubt better than potatoes do!
 
pollinator
Posts: 467
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
127
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I will be answering your post point by point, Kadence:
Growing in a variety of conditions: Mine is sandy soil, zone 4. PH 6.5. little mulch, very little 'fertilizer'[chicken litter] They are a root crop, so loose soil will work better than compacted soil, but if you have clayey soil, it might break it up: You would be sacrificing the crop. In my very sandy soil, they tend to travel to Timbuktu, like 6 ft out of bounds! So this year, I’m trying them in a raised bed. We’ll see. Any piece of root left in the ground over the winter, even smaller than a strawberry, even in zone 4, without protection will sprout a vigorous whole new plant. And they go deeeep! One foot or more in my sandbox! In the garden, they are invasive, although some selected strains may grow less contorted tubers and stay closer to the mother plant. Planted outside of the garden, they face heavy grazing from deer: In the spring, deer will eat the new shoots like asparagus and kill the plant!
If you leave tubers out of the soil where the deer can get at it, you should be accused of shooting over bait during the hunting season. Not sporting at all!
Storing: They are actually sweeter after a frost and in the ground, they will withstand Wisconsin winters where -40F is not unheard of. Up to you to see if you should devote precious storage room to this prolific tuber. You could pull them all out the ground if you have a small crop or leave them in, but if you do leave them in, spring conditions will get them growing like wildfire, so be ready! [I leave them in the ground and chase them in the Spring, but I always miss a few in spite of my best efforts].
Eating/ recipes: The pink skinned ones give me serious gas cramps, and they definitely are worse raw. The growing tip of these tubers is what goes mushy, but I don’t mind mushy: I can eat those creamed or mashed. On the same tuber though, the older part may remain firm while the newer tip will be mushy. I eat the white/beige unpeeled tubers raw, like radishes in moderation without gastric problems. After boiling them, you can also eat them cold. You can use them just like potatoes, although I have not tried deep frying.
These tubers were used in times of famine as a survival crop, their only drawback, as far as wider acceptance is concerned is that the root can be very contorted, so hard to peel, and in sandy soil, if you miss removing some soil in the tight little cracks, it will be gritty. Some new cultivars are being developed all the time with a view to change their worse features. I will tell you more once I harvest this year’s crop as I’m trying some. They are more prolific than a potato, so well worth that little effort. In the spring, you can cut each knob off the main root and plant it, so you don’t need a lot of tubers to be set for the following year!
 
Posts: 56
Location: NW Arkansas
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

kadence blevins wrote:
eating/recipes: I don't have much on this except that there is a lot on using them in place of or with potatoes and parsnips? what recipes do you like? what recipes did you not like?
"The carbohydrates give the tubers a tendency to become soft and mushy if boiled, but they retain their texture better when steamed" ((from wiki page))



I use mine in soups and stews -- expecially hearty cream soups with potatoes, sausage, mushrooms, wild rice, etc -- and love the flavor they add.
 
Posts: 40
Location: West-central Pennsylvania
13
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We can most of the ones we harvest in the fall as pickles and relishes. Vinegar in the canning process + during shelf storage converts the Inulin into Fructose. I prefer them to cukes! After the winter freeze in zone 5 converts the Inulin into Fructose we harvest for canning like canned potatoes, roasting, grilling, adding into soups and stews, stir fries, boiling and mashing alone or mixed with potatoes and sometimes some garlic, frying as home fires and hashbrowns, raw in salads or just for nibbling on, dehydrating for chips and we grind chips in a food processor for flour. The flour is a heavy flour, like Buckwheat, you should mix it with other flours for lighter dough and you have to mix it with wheat to get it to rise.
I take a daily Inulin supplement for gut health so I can handle the fresh Inulin in the fall, so I also eat them any which way without any gas effects then. Some people have little or no gas effects from eating Inulin in the fall while others aren't fit company to be around!!
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 467
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
127
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Blaine Clark wrote:We can most of the ones we harvest in the fall as pickles and relishes. Vinegar in the canning process + during shelf storage converts the Inulin into Fructose. I prefer them to cukes! ...!!



I didn't think about pickling them but this sounds like a great idea: With the vinegar and sugar, the pickling might make them fart-less? I just saw a "bread and butter pickled sunchoke" recipe that I might try: https://www.tastingtable.com/cook/recipes/pickled-sunchoke-recipe-jerusalem-artichoke-homemade-pickles-the-dabney-dc
I also found this one after you got me curious:
https://honest-food.net/pickled-jerusalem-artichokes-recipe/
Could you give us your favorite recipe, Blaine?
 
Blaine Clark
Posts: 40
Location: West-central Pennsylvania
13
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We go the already prepared way with Mrs. Wage's packaged mixes. We have a couple different recipes left over from last year and I picked up a couple more a few months ago. Around here they've been hit hard and nearly cleaned out as are most other canning supplies.
Cooking them for several hours as in a slow cooker, cooking with an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or citric acid, deep freezing for at least a day, or fermenting them as sauerkraut or Kimchi are the four main ways to convert the Inulin into Fructose and get rid of the gas issue.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 467
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
127
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Blaine Clark wrote:We go the already prepared way with Mrs. Wage's packaged mixes. We have a couple different recipes left over from last year and I picked up a couple more a few months ago. Around here they've been hit hard and nearly cleaned out as are most other canning supplies.
Cooking them for several hours as in a slow cooker, cooking with an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or citric acid, deep freezing for at least a day, or fermenting them as sauerkraut or Kimchi are the four main ways to convert the Inulin into Fructose and get rid of the gas issue.



Thanks, Blaine. Here [WI ]too: There are no lids and no jars left on the shelves. It is incredible It is crazy!! I'm planning to do at least a few pickled,, just to get a different taste, but I'll have to find more jars.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 467
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
127
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wanted to grow sunchokes again as they taste great and are so prolific. This time, I did more research and found a company that has been doing serious selecting for a number of traits, especially less 'roaming'/more clustering and less contorted shapes. They still have not selected for "not gassy", so just don't eat a pound at one seating! [The red/pink ones are definitely gassier, just so you know]
Oikos is the company and Starwhite cluster sunchoke is the cultivar I went for.  Here is the page with all of them, so you can see the incredible variety : https://oikostreecrops.com/products/perennial-vegetable-plants/sunchoke-Jerusalem-artichoke-tubers/?limit=25
I could have picked Gute Gelb sunchoke, which looked promising as well but I settled on Starwhite.
The results are in and they are fabulous. Not the biggest sunchokes, [although some of them are 5-6"long and 2"across] but they lived up to the 2 traits advertised: Does not spread and has a regular shape.
I planted 20 of them in 2 beds, each measuring 4' X 8'. They all stayed in bounds! I must say it was a tall bed [11"] placed directly on bare ground with decent soil within 2"from the top of the bed. I planted them so there was no more than 1/2"of soil on top of the tuber to take full advantage of the high bed.
And they were prolific!  Some of them went almost 1 foot deep but area-wise, they stayed in a 2 ft. diameter. Remember that my soil is quite sandy, so if they wanted to roam, they easily could have! but they politely stayed put.
I do not mind that they are a bit smaller because I have a use for all of them: The bigger ones are for cooking [boiling, roasting, creaming etc.] The few that got damaged in unearthing as well as the 'stems' between the tubers will go to the chickens or to the deer. [We have a cam that records who comes to the feeder, and deer sure love those sunchokes]. I also have tiny ones, the size of a quarter and smaller. Those can be boiled too. Just pop them in your mouth and squeeze them between your tongue and palate [They just melt in your mouth!]. Then spit the skin, if you feel you must [I don't.] I just brush and rinse some of those and eat them like radishes with a little salt or some butter or a buttered toast.
YUM!
Now, they still have "eyes" in the same arrangement as the tubers I used to have. I feel that in another season, each eye might either swell in a weird shape or make a whole new plant. I will have to test this by leaving one or two in the ground.
 
Posts: 1
Location: Denmark
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's another name for these, from Danish 'Jordskokker', the equivalent of which in English would be 'Earthchokes'. We've got a fair amount in the garden, as well as in our earlier garden, for years. But - I have never ever seen them flowering. The type we have is white and knobby and I am in Denmark (whatever US zone that would be). Is it the type of choke we have or the climate that prevents them from flowering? I would love flowers on them, they are very pretty!
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 467
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
127
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Catherine Brouwer wrote:Here's another name for these, from Danish 'Jordskokker', the equivalent of which in English would be 'Earthchokes'. We've got a fair amount in the garden, as well as in our earlier garden, for years. But - I have never ever seen them flowering. The type we have is white and knobby and I am in Denmark (whatever US zone that would be). Is it the type of choke we have or the climate that prevents them from flowering? I would love flowers on them, they are very pretty!



I live in zone 4 Wisconsin, a rather continental climate. Since Denmark is half land half sea, I suspect your weather is more even over the course of a year. It can be hot and humid here in the summer [+90F] and very cold in the winter [-40F]. Spring and Fall are transitions seasons that oscillate between summer and winter. Mine are flowering right now [mid October] after 2 killing frosts. Most years, they have not flowered. Since this year I have a different cultivar [Starwhite from Oikos], it may be a question of cultivars. Incidentally, yes, the flowers are very pretty small sunflowers, and multibranched, but I'm removing most of them: Usually, in a flowering plant, the energy spent on making bloom will take away from the amount [size/number] of tubers [and I'm growing them for the tubers]. But I'm torn: As a beekeeper, these plants flower late in the season, when choices are limited for pollinators.
I should say that I do not know that for a fact as soil conditions and weather will also have an influence, but intuitively, it sounds right. In fruit trees, you have to limit the number of blooms so that you get bigger fruit.
My soil is deep and sandy and they are in raised beds. I keep enriching the soil, but I started from pure sand, so I still have a ways to go to make it "rich", let's say. [I do have a few earthworms, through;-)]
 
I'm tired of walking, and will rest for a minute and grow some wheels. This is the promise of this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/8/rmhman
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic