A tuber by any other name
By Joyce Lavene
From A Thyme to Die
Book Six in the Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries
Jerusalem artichokes have been around almost as long as anyone can remember. No one seems to know why they had the Jerusalem title slapped on them. The plants are native to North America. Native Americans called them sun roots before French explorers discovered them in 1605 and gave them their unique, but misleading name. They aren't related to artichokes at all.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that the little tubers became more popular when someone thought to give them another name. Now they are ‘sunchokes’ and everyone likes them much better!
Sunchokes are easy to grow, or you can buy them at your local grocery or produce market. They look like sunflowers with small heads and ten foot stalks. They will yield a rich harvest of tubers just under the ground each year. They like sunny places. The tubers can be harvested in the fall, usually after the first frost.
The tubers are like potatoes but better. They aren’t as starchy and have a wonderful nutty flavor. They are smaller than most potatoes and a lot more gnarly but well worth ignoring their ugly exterior.
My family has always enjoyed them with butter and salt and pepper, like potatoes.
You can also dress them up with a little olive oil and slices of garlic. You’ll love the taste!
For enough to feed a family group, you’ll need about two pounds of clean sunchokes. Chop or slice the sunchokes and arrange on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Coat them well with olive oil, add salt and pepper and toss with sliced garlic. Roast the sunchokes in the oven for about 40 minutes or until brown outside and soft inside.
A Thyme to Die - coming Mother's Day
Sunday May 12th!