The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem ArtichokesI didn’t realise that I was growing Jerusalem Artichokes for a couple of years. As a close relation to the sunflower, I planted one Helianthus tuberosus in a dry area of the garden where I was assured that it would thrive. And it did.

By the second year there were six of the giants. It was only when I planned to move the group elsewhere that I found these tuberous roots. Initially I wasn’t at all sure what these knobbly roots were and was concerned that they might indicate some sort of ghastly disease. So there was a frantic thumbing through the gardening books. To my delight I discovered that these ugly knobbly roots were edible and pretty tasty. I also learned that Jerusalem artichokes are from the Sunflower family and not even a distant relation to the Globe Artichoke.

Jerusalem Artichokes are a useful and unusual vegetable and are so easy to grow. Just put the tubers in the soil about 18 inches apart and three inches down and each of these will produce a small cluster of new tubers. The advice that I was given initially was a bit misleading. Putting them in a dry area of the garden implies no husbandry. They will survive in a dry area but, like most vegetables, will thrive if the ground is regularly fed and watered. The artichoke patch needs to be moved regularly as the quality of the tubers will deteriorate if they stick to the same space year after year. Left alone, they spread like mad and quickly devour the nutrients from the soil. Once harvested they keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Jerusalem artichokes were grown by the Native American Indians who called them sun roots. They are high in iron and potassium and they are also high in sugar. The fresh tubers taste similar to water chestnuts and are good grated in salads. We also toss them, sliced or chopped, into a stir fry. We make artichoke soup and are planning to pickle some this year.

They also attract bored Min Pins. We had a box of Jerusalem Artichokes standing on our kitchen floor until one small, greedy min pin puppy discovered how to lift the lid.

  Leave a reply


  1. kate (uk)

    They are less windy if peeled.
    Can’t say I’ve noticed.
    Peel and slice your artichokes, sweat them in butter with some diced shallot and a little stock. Very,very yummy.

  2. Natasha

    i get jerusalem artichokes from abel and cole pretty regular – they do give you wind though!!

    Also try them liquidised in soups they add the most intense creaminess you would swear there was cream in it! I really like them added to leek and potato.

  3. karenO

    Thank you Fiona – next time I’m at the Farmer’s Market I’ll try to pick some up. Thanks for the tip about how high they grow too – it will be useful to know when I decide where to plant them!

  4. The Organic Viking

    I’ve found that they are nice roasted as part of a roasted root veg mix as well. Will try them in salads and stor frys too!

  5. karenO

    Hi Fiona

    I saw some organic Jerusalem artichokes for peeling & cooking for sale at a Farmer’s Market a few weeks back & was very tempted to try buying & planting but am not sure if that’s how it works. Any idea? I nearly risked it but being organic they were quite expensive & I thought I can always go back again.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi KarenO

      Yes you plant the tubers and then they mutiply under ground with very tall plants above (sometimes these develop sunflower type heads). They are really easy to grow and quite difficult to get rid of if you get fed up with them 🙂

  6. johndaly

    woulkd like to purchase jerusalem artichokes that have been freshly dug as i process for family treats later.(pickeled andd canned). So where may i find 10-15 pounds of fresh chokes?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Johndaly

      I’ve no idea. In the UK they are available in the autumn. Perhaps you could ask at your local farmers’ market.

  7. Try growing them as screen in the garden. Good for keeping evening sun out of ones eyes, and delicious in soup when the weather changes!

  8. c carroll

    I would like to buy fresh jerusalem artichokes on a regular basis. Do you offer them for sale. If so, could you contact me with details of price etc. Thanks.

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Belinda

    I’m sorry but I can’t help you as I live in the UK. In fact over here I have never seen them for sale in jars.

    Good luck in finding them!

  10. Belinda Westbrook

    Where can I find artichoke roots that are canned in jars? My husband loves them, but we cannot find them around here. We live in North Carolina, zip code 28508. Any help you can give will be grestly appreciated. Thanks

Leave a Reply to Fiona Nevile Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,247,621 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder