Jerusalem Artichoke

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Jerusalem artichokes do not come from Jerusalem and have no connection with globe artichokes whatsoever-hence the name! The name is said to have come from the corruption of the name ‘girasole’ which is the Italian for sunflower but after closer study this would appear to be incorrect. The name Jerusalem is older than girasole and is in fact the corruption of the name Terneuzen, a place in Holland from where the tuber was introduced to England.

Jerusalem Artichokes

Grown underground they are planted in the spring for an autumn and winter harvest. Best grown in a sunny position, they will tolerate most soil types and are ideal for breaking up uncultivated soil. Harvest once the leaves turn yellow and make sure you dig them up at regular intervals, as they can become a nuisance if left.

The tubers grow to an average of 3-4 oz (70-80g) and are knobbly and irregular in shape. To cook, scrub in cold water and then cook in boiling water until just soft when the skin will peel easily. They can be used in place of potatoes and make very good soups and gratins. Be warned, they induce flatulence!

Content and picture © Miles Collins