Jerusalem Artichokes: The Prepping Plant

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If you would have asked me 10 years ago what a Jerusalem Artichoke plant was, I probablyKaren Lynn - Jerusalem Artichokes - The Prepping Plant could not have told you. Truthfully, if I had seen a picture of the tubers, I would have thought I wouldn’t eat them anyway.

Interestingly enough, along my Homesteading and Prepper journey, I have evolved so much. Changing my food tastes and what I prefer has become a huge part of that. Flash forward 10 years and now they are one of my favorite plants to grow and I consider them the ultimate “prepping plant.” I now enjoy eating foods that will sustain me for long periods of time and whole foods that are healthier for me and my family.

Growing Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes  (also known as sunchokes) are highly invasive, as invasive as, if not more so than, mint, in my opinion. The really amazing thing is they produce tons of tubers, have fairly good nutritional value, and are so easy to grow they thrive on neglect. Many gardeners just put them in the back of the garden and forget them.

This fact was not lost on the Native Americans who planted them along the trails they traveled so they would always have a food source available.

Cooking Them

To cook up for a meal we typically clean them and peel them like we would ginger. They are knobby, so it’s not always easy. We slice them up and roast them usually in the oven with an oil such as ghee or coconut oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic.  Our entire family loves this dish it is so delicious and another little known fact that I love about Jerusalem Artichokes is they can replace potatoes in just about any recipe and since they take on the taste of whatever it is cooked in it disguises very easily.

As far as cooking goes, they are fairly easy to prepare as well. My husband and I even made homemade wine with them. It’s quite good, I must say. People are often quite surprised to find out they are drinking essentially juice from  “Jerusalem Artichokes” in their glass of wine, but they usually ask for another glass!

Jerusalem Artichoke Wine by Karen LynnHealth Benefits

  • If you eat them when they are fresh, they do not cause a spike in blood sugar like potatoes will because they have a low glycemic index score.
  • They lower blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium in your body. I definitely consider this tuber to be part of the “whole foods” category and an item I feel good about feeding my family.
  •  Jerusalem Artichokes have inulin in them and some web articles view them as a pre-biotic. Both of these qualities make it a good food choice for folks with digestive issues.

Jerusalem Artichoke Plants -Karen LynnRecipes

I have lots of plans for our Jerusalem Artichokes for this next harvest season. A few of the recipes I have not yet made but plan to try include:

Part of what makes this edible tuber so fascinating is that the sky is the limit with what you can do to them, and they grow abundantly, even on my lil’ suburban homestead.

Versatility

Whether you have a huge spread or a small city lot, you can grow these along your back fence as they are extremely versatile. Some people are surprised to see how tall the Jerusalem Artichoke plant gets. I know I was – they can grow to 8 to 15 feet tall!

The tubers can be harvested for a while after the plants flower and fall over. I prefer to harvest them up until spring so they are fresh and loaded with inulin which is the best time to keep the glycemic index score lower on these beauties!

If you are new to gardening, do not avoid this crop. Getting your hands on the tubers initially can be a little more pricey, but the initial investment will pay off in dividends. Embrace the fact that your garden will be home to the ultimate “Prepping Plant” to feed your family easily, healthfully, and in a large quantity.

Have you grown Jerusalem Artichokes before? What did you like about them or not? What would you recommend to others who are just starting out? What is your favorite dish to make with this crop that I consider to be indispensable to my edible garden?

Happy Growing & Prepping from my homestead to yours!

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Karen Lynn blogs at LilSuburbanHomestead.com and has been featured in "From Scratch" magazine.

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16 thoughts on “Jerusalem Artichokes: The Prepping Plant”

  1. Very interesting. I love planting things that are “out of the ordinary” like husk cherries, artichokes, etc. These I had not heard of or considered. Are they sold as tubers to plant? They remind me of growing ginger. Do you know where to purchase them? I live in zone 7B they should do ok here right?

  2. I have looked or about three years to find some of these….I just have no idea where to find them. I’m gonna have to proceed to start looking again soon! Thanks. Great work here.

  3. My Mom was into whole foods when I was a kid in the 70’s and we ate a lot of Jerusalem Artichokes back then. We always ate them raw… didn’t know you could cook them.

  4. I was able to acquire some of these tubers when our ground was still frozen, but was not able to get them in the ground until early summer. I don’t see them coming up yet. the squirrels have dug up a few. Do you think the ones still in the ground have a chance? They were somewhat dry when they went in the trough we made. I would love to be growing these.

  5. I love all the comments! We were able to get our tubers online from a seed or nursery website. Debbie I do think your tubers have a chance just an fyi….we had to move ours they didn’t do so well out front but they have taken over our backyard LOL!

  6. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been telling people about this plant for a few years now. It is amazing. Totally no fuss – you’re right, I have it at the back of my acre and it goes nuts with absolutely zero work. The neighbors think they’re pretty – they look like super giant sunflowers or black eyed susans… I mainly stir fry them but have also made scalloped potatoes. One of my favorite edible plants ever!

  7. If you live in Tucson, Az. I know Sprouts carries the tubers in the fall/winter season. And a piece will only cost you like .20 cents. They also carry fresh turmeric for like 3.99 for a few tubers.

  8. I got my tubers here: http://www.fedcoseeds.com/moose/ and if I remember I’ll fill you in on how they grew. I’m still debating where to put them, as my yard is heavy clay and there’s some challenging spots where I’m not sure they’ll do well, but it’d be nice to have something low maintenance there

  9. These can we found everywhere where I live (Ottawa), if you know what they look like and it’s FREE. They grow naturally in abandoned lots, fields, etc. I went in a field in autumn near my house a few years back and harvested about 1 pounds of tubers. I planted them in my garden and the first year I litterally had 10 times the amount I planted. The problem is that I planted them in my veggie garden (BIG mistake) and did not remove every last bit of tuber (I would say it’s nearly impossible to do so because they spread so much!) and now they are popping up everywhere! I have now relocated them at the back of the shed, but I am still battling with them in the garden. They started popping up in my aspargus bed this year (20 feet away from where I planted the original few bulbs). So choose the planting location wisely! in the garden they grew about 15 feet tall, but in the back of the shed they now grow to about 6 feet and the tubers are not as big, but they still produce very well with no attention whatsoever (no water, no compost, no fertilizer). 🙂

  10. What means the
    Prepping plant?
    I will go dig some this weekend. ,today I was taking some currant bushes from my aunts yard, and I pulled some JA.I have lots growing in my garden,but never harvest. It,s time. Thanks
    My grandmother used to roast them, I think. They grew in that very yard where I was today and that I grew up in! I always thought they were Mediterranean, since she was Italian.

  11. Pingback: 10 Ways to have Hidden Gardens - Preparedness AdvicePreparedness Advice

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