Though many would describe it as a troublesome weed, its vigor and invasiveness make Jerusalem artichoke tubers a survival food source you should know about.
The Jerusalem artichoke is a native to
Roots are rhizomes that end in oval reddish brown tubers. The tubers distinguish Jerusalem artichoke from sunflowers, which have none.
After the plants die over the winter, their stems are woody. I’d think it’s possible they could be broken down into small pieces and used for kindling.
The tubers can be eaten raw or cooked and the flavor improves if they are left in the ground until after frost. They can be peeled and cooked like potatoes, though my experience is that they can have a strong flavor that makes them undesirable. If you’ve got ideas on cooking the tubers, please leave a comment. I prefer them raw and cut into small pieces in a fresh salad. They really add crunchiness.
Over half of the carbohydrate Jerusalem artichoke contains is in the form of inulin, and this can’t be absorbed by the body. As a result, you may have gas after eating it. However, the inulin makes Jerusalem artichoke good for diabetics and hypoglycemics, since they’re not starchy. It also means that you can eat quite a lot of it without putting on weight.
A few seed companies sell Jerusalem artichoke tubers for planting, such as Johnny’s Selected Seeds, though they may not ship until fall for fall planting. You may also find it in a local grocery store, sometimes referred to as Sunchokes.
Give some thought to where you plant
Check out this video demonstrating one man’s experience harvesting Jerusalem artichoke tubers.