Jerusalem Artichoke Problem

A number of years ago my allotment partner and I agreed that a corner down the bottom of our allotment would be devoted to growing jerusalem artichokes, on the grounds that they would provide screening and be no bother. I bought a pound or so from our local green grocer and stuck them in the ground.
Now every year we dig up buckets and buckets of the things. We never replant because we never succeed in clearing them out. I make soup with them and use them as a vegetable in stews – they go particularly well with rabbit – and there is one really good recipe I know of in Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Cookery Book for a jerusalem artichoke and shell fish salad. But mostly I give them away.
There must be a jerusalem artichoke fan club out there because my local greengrocer charges £1.49 lb for them (NO NOT Kilogram really a pound) and presumably somebody pays those prices. If any member of that fan club reads this article, please let me know (via the comments) of other recipes for using this vegetable.

21 Responses to “Jerusalem Artichoke Problem”

  1. Peter Wright Says:

    I got rid of my Jerusalem Artichokes they were taking over my allotment. The flavour is delicate (Bland) and they are difficult to peel. The globe artichokes have also gone the same way and for much the same reasons, the globes go well with a dry white wine, by the time you have finished a globe artichoke you are too drunk to enjoy the rest of the meal. That part of my patch is now the asparagus bed. Grown from seed one early and one late variety. This year is the third season for the early. I am hoping for a ten week season.

  2. jenny Says:

    My husband is much keener on this vegetable than I am. He fries a little garlic, then adds the thinly sliced artichokes and some tomatoes, puts a lid on the pan, and lets them saute away for a while until the tomatoes and garlic have turned into a kind of sauce for artichokes. I find the whole concoction a bit indigestible. If there is a solution to this aspect of Jerusalem artichokes then I might be fonder of them.

  3. Andrew Says:

    The gist of a tale about these vegetables went like this – Sturdy plants grow 5-6 feet high and do not require staking. They can form a useful wind-break, but remember that when eaten – the same wind returns to haunt you.

  4. paul Says:

    I WOULD LIKE TOO NOW HOW I GROW ARTICHOKES AND WERE DO I GET THEM FROM

  5. Barbara Says:

    Easiest way to get jerusalem artichokes is from a good green grocer – they are not easily found in garden centres. Growing them is just a matter of sticking them in the ground and waiting. Choose a corner where they will not get in the way, theplants grow 5 – 6 ft tall. Dig up the artichoke tubers after the leaves have died down – October onwards, you can dig them all through the winter. Next year they will re-grow from the tubers that you have failed to remove from the ground!

  6. Sue Says:

    Jerusalem artichokes; great raw in salads!

  7. Bruce Wallace Says:

    Jerusalem Artichoke Lovers:
    I’m a USA grower of USDA (US Department of Agriculture) organically grown Jerusalem Artichokes (JAs)in Maryland. I’ll provide support to all those that are interested in embarking on the adventure of growing their own. A few comments on the previously posted comments follows:
    * JAs should be staked. Some of my JAs reach 17-feet high.
    * Ebay frequently have JAs offerings.
    * Fresh JAs are rich with inulin. For diabetics this is important since they’ll have no impact on blood sugar.
    * For maximum production all JAs tubers must be removed from the growing field before spring germination; if you don’t you’ll creat a weed situation that is difficult to eradicate.
    * With a rich, well drained, slightly acidic soil you can expect a production of about 40-pounds per plant.
    * Harvest your JAs after they flower, but they will have peak taste after the first killing frost.
    V/R
    Bruce Wallace

  8. Louise Clift Says:

    I live in South London and the only place I know where I can buy Jerusalem Artichokes is Waitrose supermarket! I have just bought some to plant at home afterwatching the gardening programme on BBC2. Great as chips, in soups or even with fish! Love ’em.

  9. Andrea Smith Says:

    I have just taken delivery of my first tubers of JA’s – can’t wait to start growing them! I am just going to ‘stick them in the ground and leave them alone’…as someone on this site has suggested….I’ll let you know how they go but will be beack for growing advice – great website, thanks

  10. anthony big boy Says:

    artichokes jerusalem just planted mine roll on october
    had some first time in butter; smashing; sod taters; lin new year big tony

  11. Bruce Wallace Says:

    Andrea Smith:
    Great to see another JA lover joining the rank-and-files as a grower. The JAs are forgiving so you can go to wrong. To maximize production you may want to consider the following;
    * Before planting turn over the planting area to a depth of 2-feet a hole diameter of 3-feet and mix the soil with peat and fertilizer. Remember the less energy expended by the JA in breaking the soil will be transformed into giant fist size tubers. If you’re are a petro-gardener, use a couple of handfulls of NPK fertilizer with analysis of 5-10-10 or 10-20-20. If you are an organic gardener you can approximate this NPK analysis naturally by using a handfull of bonemeal(5%), a handfull of seaweed meal(5%), and handful of fishery waste (5%).
    * Plant in direct sun and protect sprouting tuber from frost.
    V/R
    Bruce Wallace

  12. james Says:

    hi all i too saw the same programme and fancied having ago
    at them chips ,ill never have another normal chip made in
    my house again trouble is they are dear to buy £3 + a kilo
    so will grow some in the garden is now the time to plant them
    and will i get any success if i plant some that i bought in the
    dreaded frescos
    cheers
    j

  13. Bruce Wallace Says:

    James:
    Plant your JA tubers in frozen free soil 14-days prior to the last frost day for your area. Should a late frost occur (after the JAs break the ground surface) it is important to protect them by covering them with straw/paper-bags sprayed with a fine mist of water. I’m not familiar with Frescos’ stock, but so long as the tubers are fresh and have been stored at 34 degrees F, you should do just fine.
    V/R
    Bruce Wallace

  14. james Says:

    well i ate them instead couldnt resist and i was really lt down by the flavour nothing like the ones i got from the market in abergavenny so i will try to source some tasty ones and plant them instead
    dont they give you wind though !!!

  15. Bruce Wallace Says:

    James:
    You are correct. Since the JAs are a rich source of inulin, an indigestible fiber, you may experience increased intestinal gas (flatulence) for the first few weeks after eating the JAs.
    V/R,
    Bruce Wallace

  16. sagswebmaster Says:

    James
    Don’t despair about your artichokes. Root vegetables taste best straight out of the ground, and anything you buy in a supermarket will have been travelling around the world for days or weeks, while the ones in Abergavenny market will have been fresh. Having said that, you may as well start off with a batch that you know tastes good.

  17. Iain Says:

    My JAs are chitting alongside my potatoes waiting for the mid-wales frosts to end. I’m a bit concerned about this veg. being a real nuisance and difficult to get rid of, as this will be the first year I’ve tried them. Are they suitable to grow at the back of a fower border?Reassurance needed or I eat the seed.

  18. sagswebmaster Says:

    They can be kept under control as long as you are ruthless about digging them out at the end of the season. However they can grow quite tall and straggly, and even if they produce a flower it is not particularly spectacular. So their suitability depends on much space you have and how strongly you feel about the tidiness of your flower borders. Personally I would prefer to use them e.g. as a screen for the compost heap somewhere down at the bottom of the garden.

  19. Bruce Wallace Says:

    Iain and Sagswebmaster:
    Is there any chance that you forgo planting the potatos and replacing them with different varieties of JAs? For all practical purposes JAs are a great healthy substitute in any menu for potatos and the JAs will outproduce the potatos by a factor of 10 (an acre of ground will yield 3,000 pounds of Yukon Gold potatos or 30,000 pounds of JAs. To avoid the JA nusiance problem and if you’re growing them on a small scale I suggest that you grow them in a container that can be tipped easily at the end of the growing season and all tuber will be easily seen and harvested. I’ve found that an old 1/2 whisky barrel works great and they’re cheap. A row of JAs will make a terrific border plant. To ge a feeling of what they look like please consult Claude Monet’s 1880 Jerusalem Artichoke picture via any search engine.
    V/R, Bruce Wallace

  20. Heather Says:

    I bought jerusalem artichokes as a vegetable, whoops they got forgotten at the back of the basket and started to sprout SO I’ve planted them (all 5)in a planter on the patio. They’re growing and i needed info on general timings for care and harvesting – so came to your site. Hopefully my pot will make a good harvest in autumn. Thanks for your honesty and humour.

  21. sagswebmaster Says:

    I’m closing this post for comments. As an old post it is being heavily targeted by spam comments. Although I have a reasonable spam filter it doesn’t catch everything and there are words and phrases I would rather not have to read. I’m sorry about this because it has been a nice conversation about Jerusalem Artichokes. However you can still put comments on the Vegetable of the Month Recipes – Jerusalem Artichokes post which is newer and which I’ll try to leave open as long as possible. Thanks for all your support.