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Multiplied Jerusalem Artichokes - 4 turned into 100!  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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HOLY COW

I got 4 Jerusalem artichoke roots last year..in the spring..and dutifully planted them according to directions..not expecting much as i tried to grow them once before and they didn't do anything..(must have been a wierd batch then?)

Well i was redigging all the garden beds..and got to that one today..and wow oh wow !!

I must have had nearly 100 tubers !!..no  kidding..i didn't even think about checking them last fall..as there were just a few flowers above the ground when winter came on....so i wasn't too impressed.

well i decided to move them to a better location..and i just kept pulling out  tubers after tubers after tubers after tubers ...

i was going to put them into edged beds to keep quack grass out of them and keep them out of everything else..as i was told theyw ere invasive..no kidding

well i thought i had them all dug out ..and then i went to weed the bed..pulled out a couple more dozen..and then i went to put in the edging on the new bed..and pulled out a couple of more dozen..it ws like they were rabbits or something.

well i planted them as a border along 4 of my newly edged gardens and still had some left in my bucket..so i thought..well i have this huge clay area that nothing is growing in..so in went and planted them in the clay..about a dozen ofthem..we'll see what they do there..i'm hoping that all those tubers will break up the clay and make a nice stand..we'll see..but i had more than i could use..and no way to give them to anyone at the monment..so they  had to go somewhere..

guess i'll have enough this fall to eat some.
 
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Another thing you have just proven is that they winter well in the soil. 

I think sunchokes turn out to be one of the best homesteader crops.  Especially for those wishing to be self sustaining.  It produces a lot of calories that will keep throughout the winter in the soil.  So if you get hungry in the middle of winter, there's plenty out there even if you haven't done anything with them for five years. 

And they make an excellent pig food - all year.



 
Brenda Groth
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well hubby and I figured..that on those 4 original roots..that that fall we could have probably fed a family of four for at least 8 meals..maybe10

i replanted ALL of them..I should have counted them  but I didn't..but now i figure that I could feed that same family of 4 this fall probably about 100 meals..or more..and still have enought to replant..

so yeah..we won't starve anytime soon..we may  end up eating mundane repeating meals should we never again be able to purchase food..but..we have enough to eat right here on our own property (asparagus, rhubarb, mult onions, jerusalem artichokes, dayliiles by the hundreds and hundreds, mushrooms, cherries, apples, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries,elderberries......and on and on and on....

we could even shoot a dear,bear or turkey if we really felt the need)
 
                          
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I think I am in for it; I planted three big containers of jerusalem artichokes, no problem with invasiveness there. But I have two exceptions. I have corner of my 1/4 acre yard where I planted a mulberry tree. It's my "Let's try anything corner. I throw old seeds in there and found all sorts of things growing, well, mostly a whole lot of turnips. I established tomatillos there. I also planted a two 2'x1' spaces with Jerusalem artichokes. I also have a spirial with some artichoke in it.  all of it is away from the raise beds, just on the edges. Hope my kids like eating them!
 
Brenda Groth
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one thing Eric is that they send out a pretty easy to spot sprout in the early spring if you miss them..so you know exactly where they are so that you can dig or pull them up if there are too many..

i would suggest moving them in the spring if they are in your way, as if you wait, you'll have babies falling off back into the soil.

i have heard the best way is to harvest them by pulling them in the fall rather than digging them and then the babies will resprout in the spring..however..you'll have an awful lot of babies that way..i would suggest pulling and digging to get as many as you can in the fall when you harvest them (harvest each plant one at a time for a meal (or two) so that you can deal with each one on their own..and if you don't want it there again next year..mark the spot and watch for telltale sprouts of the babies in early spring
 
                    
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I purchased 1 Jerusalem artichoke start this year. It's happily growing in a raised bed. I'm hoping to eat some and grow more. It's an experiment. I was one of those black thumb types until I moved to Oregon. Things just seem to grow here so I've been learning about plants and gardening (which is great because I've always used any excuse I could to get out and enjoy nature). I've heard great things about this plant; mainly that it's easy and abundant.
 
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They should be called antichokes, as they are impossible to kill.
 
Brenda Groth
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i love the fact that they are low carb, now that i'm on a low carb diet cause of blood sugar problems..they say it is one of the best foods for diabetics..
 
                    
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EXCELLENT! I didn't know that these are low carb. One of the reasons I'm learning more about gardening is that I'm diabetic and my blood sugar regulates itself better when I give it non-processed fresh foods. The exercise that gardening promotes is a big factor too. It's impossible to get enough exercise at my current job, but I don't have to take ANY insulin when I spend the day in the garden and eat the right foods.
 
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They're low carb because the carbohydrate in them is indigestible.  This can have, in my experience, unfortunate side effects.  Just make sure that if you eat them your partner also eats them or you'll end up sleeping in separate beds.  It could well be that if they don't have this effect on you, then your body is digesting them and the low carb effect is lost.  It's a bit like the indigestible sugar in some sugar free chocolate, which I can get away with about once a week (so long as I'm near a loo as it has a slightly different side effect....) but which if I eat more frequently no longer has the side effects but does hit my blood sugars hard instead. 

We call artichokes fartichokes for a good reason... 
 
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Fermentable fiber (like inulin, pectin, and the various bean gums) is digested with the help of a population of gut microbes adapted to that purpose. I don't think digesting them well necessarily means digesting them quickly, and it absolutely doesn't mean they immediately become simple sugars the way processed carbohydrates do. Separately, the nutrients produced by the microbes include some that help against diabetes almost the way a drug would.

For example, populations who have traditionally eaten a lot of mesquite flour and continue to do so, can digest the fermentable fiber very well. Members of the same population who have switched to processed foods are especially susceptible do diabetes.
 
Brenda Groth
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so far with me I never have a problem with gas from things that most people do, so I guess maybe i'm strange..but i'll remember to check my blood sugar 2 hours after eating them..generally if you take something like an antacid for gas or like that..then it will make null the low glycemic part of the food..but if you aren't taking those things they generally still remain low glycemic inside of your body
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Brenda,

It sounds like your habit of eating lots of fruit & vegetables has built up a healthy & stable ecosystem that can easily digest things that other people would have trouble with. Pectin is an important player in the traditional US diet.

Gas relief comes in two forms: an anti-foaming agent that only changes the size of bubbles and is not absorbed (GasX, Phasyme; generically, simethicone), and enzymes that make fermentable fiber digestable (Beano). The latter might influence blood sugar, but I wouldn't expect the former to at all.
 
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On top of the gas relief advice Joel has offered, preserving/fermenting with lactobacillus (a la Nourishing Traditions)  can "predigest" the the sunchoke`s inulin, and you may find some gas relief that way.

It would be similar to making yoghurt for the lactose intolerant.

Hope this helps.
 
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THESE THINGS RULE

the tops are good forage for goats and i believe cows and sheep too. They can be used for mulch or for silage. The roots can be fed to all manner of livestock through winter.

they yield twice the tonnage per acre as corn!

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
 
Brenda Groth
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any info on how to go about the preserving/fermenting spoken of above? and what would it taste like? would that be similar to sauerkraut?
 
Emil Spoerri
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I guess it would depend on how tender the tops are when you harvest them. It might be somewhat edible if they were still young, but I was talking about for animal food.

In that case, they would be mixed with other things and packed into an air tight container.
 
Dw Cress
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Brenda Groth wrote:
any info on how to go about the preserving/fermenting spoken of above? and what would it taste like? would that be similar to sauerkraut?



Brenda, I have never tasted fermented sunchokes, sorry.
It would be the same process as traditional sauerkraut (no vinegar please).

Honestly, I dont have a source saying lacto-fermentation of sunchokes will actually reduce gas. I know that inulin is what causes the gas, and that inulin is probiotic for lactobacillus in the gut. Since this same bacteria is used in traditional sauerkraut, I logically thought it would eat up some of the inulin in the sunchokes before you eat it.



I learned about preserving/fermenting foods from the book Nourishing Traditions.
If you have never heard of this book, I encourage you to pick it up. It has changed the way i look at food and nutrition. It is both a recipe book and nutrition lesson in one!

Here is someone making the kraut using the book's recipe (skip to 6min).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITKxXpcU5fI

Here is a short vid of the author talking about fermented foods
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5qIcwVskkg



Hope this helps!

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I've eaten sunflowers (aerial portion) at the second-true-leaf stage of development (cotyledons about to fall off). Fuzzy, but not too out of place in a salad. I bet sunchoke sprouts would be vaguely similar: it might be worth trying to cultivate them in the style of asparagus.
 
gardener
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I've found several vinegar brine recipes for sunchoke pickles but haven't run across a fermented style yet.
 
Brenda Groth
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hmmm sunchoke pickles..hadn't thought of that.

maybe we need a sunchoke recipe thread in the food forum
 
                    
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I love Sun Chokes & they seem so easy to grow!

Dose anyone know if they come in verities like potatoes do?

D
 
Robert Ray
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I was given two varieties from a friend. He just called them red and white. What he called reds were a bit smaller, darker skinned and bumpier than the variety he called white which are smoother and larger. The reds are physically smaller in their current above ground growth.
 
                    
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Humm, that's very interesting, thanks for sharing.

Is there a taste difference?
 
Robert Ray
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No taste difference that I can tell. Flesh the same just the exterior appearance differs. I'll make an effort to compare the blossoms this year.
 
Brenda Groth
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here is a link to the gardens on my property, in some of the photos of the baby  food forest gardens you can pick out the jerusalem artichokes, lots of them growing now..in Michigan everything is slow..so they aren't really big yet
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=23386&id=1846485863&l=500c304934
 
                    
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Thanks Brenda & Robert,
I do appreciate you sharing this, I can't wait to see what kind of a harvest I get, things grow kinda slow here also but a nice hot July & Aug. might perk them up.

Brenda, what a lovely green garden, what part of Michigan do you live in?

My family is up in Big Bay, they have a native plant nursery there.

Oh PS- any one have good recipes using sun chokes?

D
 
                                    
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gotta find some of those! Thank you for posting about this Brenda and your garden on facebook is incredible!....the kind of garden I'de love to have someday when we get our forever property.
 
Brenda Groth
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thanks for the lovely compliments on my property and gardens. Appreciated them a lot.

I live in north central lower peninsula South of Traverse City and North East of Cadillac.

Right now we have finally been getting some rain and my gardens are growing like a jungle.

In Fukoka's book One Straw Revolution he talks a lot about the "pickled vegetables" that the elderly japanese used to live on..and i found that fairly interesting..as we in this country aren't such pickly people..but i do like pickles..and pickled vegetables.

i think i'll try some pickled JA's later this fall when they are ready to dig

i had so many babies this spring that i put them all over the place ..i mean all over.

i had an area of clay/sand mix that was near the swamp and woods edge, and i put a few of the baby leftoverse in that heavy clay, just opened up a slit..dropped them in and tossed some clay crumbs on top in the slit (drought here at the time)..andthey are up and growing beautifully..wonder if any of the wildlife hear would eat them?
 
Brenda Groth
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oh that was n central lower peninsula of MICHIGAN
 
                                    
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I live in the Upper Penninsula about 25 minutes outside of Marquette. We've enjoyed quite a bit of rain lately  I got a jump start on the growing season thanks to clear two liter pop bottles filled with water and the milky plastic that you buy at the hardware store.May was unseasonably warm so set the bottles out to catch the sun's heat and would spread them out in the garden then cover with plastic overnight. Was able to plant May 13th verses waiting till June 1st. Everything seems to be doing well out there. I tried the lambsquarter and you are right, it's delicous!We've been enjoying spinache, a variety of lettuce and radish so far.My lil man and I will be out for a nature walk to see if we can't find some wild Jerusalem Artichoke before I try to shop for it....the landscape here has been full of suprises lately LOL So glad to have found this forum. It's leading me in directions I'd never thought about before.
 
Brenda Groth
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Sue, I too was able to start my gardens extremely early here in Michigan this year due to the outrageously warm spring..wasn't that nice ?

However, we had 36 degrees overnight and may have frost tonight..hope not.

I didn't really have to use any of the normal season extending methods to get the garden started..but if we are going to get frosts..i might wish i had some sprinklers out there..that worked (don't).

I'm not sure about wild Jerusalem Artichokes..but if you don't get any, send me a PM and this fall i'll send you a few of the roots so that you can start some..i have hundreds of them going here..and you are welcome to some..(if you happen to be down just s of Traverse city or have friends or family travelling..have them stop by and i'll unload some plants for you ) Brenda
 
                    
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My daughter has a large pot of sun chokes growing on our porch, she is very excited to harvest them. Is there a special time when we should harvest them?
or a special way to harvest them?
 
                                    
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Brenda Groth wrote:
Sue, I too was able to start my gardens extremely early here in Michigan this year due to the outrageously warm spring..wasn't that nice ?

However, we had 36 degrees overnight and may have frost tonight..hope not.

I didn't really have to use any of the normal season extending methods to get the garden started..but if we are going to get frosts..i might wish i had some sprinklers out there..that worked (don't).

I'm not sure about wild Jerusalem Artichokes..but if you don't get any, send me a PM and this fall i'll send you a few of the roots so that you can start some..i have hundreds of them going here..and you are welcome to some..(if you happen to be down just s of Traverse city or have friends or family travelling..have them stop by and i'll unload some plants for you ) Brenda



Thank you Brenda! I'll do that if I can't find them
 
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iamamonster Hatfield wrote:

Brenda Groth wrote:
any info on how to go about the preserving/fermenting spoken of above? and what would it taste like? would that be similar to sauerkraut?



Brenda, I have never tasted fermented sunchokes, sorry.
It would be the same process as traditional sauerkraut (no vinegar please).

Honestly, I dont have a source saying lacto-fermentation of sunchokes will actually reduce gas. I know that inulin is what causes the gas, and that inulin is probiotic for lactobacillus in the gut. Since this same bacteria is used in traditional sauerkraut, I logically thought it would eat up some of the inulin in the sunchokes before you eat it.



I learned about preserving/fermenting foods from the book Nourishing Traditions.
If you have never heard of this book, I encourage you to pick it up. It has changed the way i look at food and nutrition. It is both a recipe book and nutrition lesson in one!

Here is someone making the kraut using the book's recipe (skip to 6min).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITKxXpcU5fI

Here is a short vid of the author talking about fermented foods
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5qIcwVskkg



Hope this helps!



I have found some information about lacto-fermented Jerusalem artichokes and it indeed make them fartless and boost the calories. Yay !

http://heinfamilyenterprises.com/tag/lacto-fermented-jerusalem-artichokes/
 
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I have recently ordered some Jerusalem Artichokes from John Kohler (Growing Your Greens) and I'm wondering what I need to do to prepare the bed for them. They seem to be able to heave the ground but would it make it easier and more productive for them to have more friable soil? I'm pretty knew at this and feeling my way around. The internet is a wonderful teaching tool but it can be unbelievably confusing, as well. I would like for them to be a sun and visual screen around my 3000 gal water tank, any comments on how effective they might be for this purpose.
 
Brenda Groth
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Jerusalem artichokes grow like weeds..they don't require a lot of preparation..basically loosen the soil and stick em in..and a little mulch the first year or so might be helpful..but they are self mulching as they grow, unless you harvest them all, and then you will be pulling the mulch off..so put some back on.

I have been doing a lot of Jerusalem Artichoke thinking the past couple of years since observing how they grow..seeing as how they make a very quick thick tall hedge..I thought seeing as how i have hunderds, maybe thousands now, I'm considering using them as hedges like people would use bamboo in a Japanese garden..or should I say screens..

My son loves japanese gardens, and we have a lot of areas that would be well protected by a screen .. and I hadn't ever thought of using them in those areas although they do make a lovely screen where they are..so..the thought is to move some of them to some areas where we would like to be able to sit near our pond and have wind protection and privacy..and make a little Japanese garden..my son lives next door and our pond is basically in his view behind his house..so it would be a nice place for him to enjoy (if he ever has time off).

I have also seen some threads that suggest using Jerusalem Artichokes as "potato chips" which I haven't tried, and also drying them which also I haven't tried..they don't keep very well once dug. Still haven't started a Jerusalem Artichoke recipe thread..
 
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It sounds like I'm on the right track, one crop, two functions lots of easy calories and a screen. I think that is called stacking in permaculture. My partner is diabetic and I understand these plants are a good food for her.
 
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I have also heard tell of the following technique: boil or roast the JAs long and slow (I mean like for multiple days atop your woodstove, so that they cook whenever your burning a fire) in order to increase the calorie content by turning more of the indigestible inulin into digestible sugars. This would obviously also have the affect of changing the flavor to something sweeter. Obviously not a technique for those of you who value JAs for their diabetic-friendly qualities, but something of possible interest to the rest of us.

Has anybody actually tried this first hand? Can you comment on the results?

Thanks...
 
Brenda Groth
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i have heard of them doing that with camass and other root crops..sometimes they bury them in firepits and let them just keep going for a long time till they are nearly burned..supposed to make those things more digestable..and sweeter.

Jerusalem artichokes are pretty sweet as they are..raw..but I imagine roasting for a long time might sweeten them..I haven't done it but I sure could I guess.

Maybe wrap them in some alum foil and put them in the coals of the woodstove?

there is a thread for odd recipes so if anyone has any it is at the top of the forum..add them there and we'll give em a try when we get an opportunity...I have tons of JA's so I would love to try some new things.
 
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