Jerusalem artichoke, an ancient vegetable very easy to grow

Old vegetables are making a comeback to the forefront of the vegetable garden. Jerusalem artichoke, once shunned by a large part of the population for dark historical reasons, is finally finding its place in our gardens and on our plates. As beautiful as it tastes, it’s also super easy to grow!

End of October, premi
At the end of October, first harvest of Jerusalem artichokes

Jerusalem artichoke, a beautiful plant for the garden

Helianthus tuberosus, otherwise named Jerusalem artichoke or called Jerusalem artichoke, is a plant lively rhizomatous Asteraceae family as the sunflower (Helianthus annuus) his close cousin.

This very ornamental plant which can reach 2.5 m in height, even more if the growing conditions suit it, is adorned in late summer and early autumn, with flowers similar to as many small, very bright yellow suns 5 to 10 cm in diameter, which take over from the summer blooms.

This plant of huge proportion and of rapid growth is ideal for creating privacy hedges, for hiding an unsightly wall or a fence, even a cistern or any other object that deserves to be hidden, but also to adorn the back of a garden or a bed.

Be careful, it naturalizes quickly and can get somewhat cumbersome if you do not harvest its rhizomes for consumption.

In late autumn, the foliage wilts and the plant disappears, it will then be necessary to prune the aerial parts which are not very aesthetic once browned. It will also be time to harvest the tubers if you wish to consume them. Note that they can remain in the ground all winter and be harvested as and when needed.

If you appreciate the ornamental side of the plant, leave a few rhizomes in the ground so that it reappears the following spring!

A root vegetable with a hint of hazelnut and artichoke

Its tubers of very irregular shape are groceries. The white or pink flesh depending on the variety, slightly translucent when cooked, develops a sweet flavor reminiscent of artichoke and hazelnut.

Jerusalem artichokes find the same culinary applications as potatoes. Steamed, boiled, mashed, au gratin, fried, anything is possible with this root vegetable!

Be careful, however, not to prepare them for a date, because inulin that they contain sometimes causes some intestinal disturbances including formidable flatulence!

To avoid this phenomenon, which is as annoying as it is sound and fragrant, eat them raw, grated, in a salad, or cook them in water at the same time as potatoes. This trick would counter the dreaded undesirable effect!

Note that if you are diabetic, inulin will have little or no impact on blood sugar.

Jerusalem artichoke therefore has many advantages in addition to its original taste ! Rich in fiber, the facilitates intestinal transit, it is also a good source of iron, potassium and phosphorus. Low in calories, it can be consumed as part of a low calorie diet.

History of Jerusalem artichoke

Originally from North America, cultivated by the Amerindians, then exported to Europe in the 17th century, Jerusalem artichoke finds a warm welcome in France where it is appreciated for its high productivity and ease of cultivation.

Its heyday will end with the rise of the potato 100 years later. It will then only be dedicated to animal feeding until the German occupation during the Second World War. The other foods being reserved for the invader, the population then rediscovers the Jerusalem artichoke, which is timely against famine. This root vegetable will keep for decades the shadow of those horrible years and will be excluded from the plates until it is rediscovered and brought up to date by starred chefs in search of authenticity and originality.

Ease of childish culture

Growing Jerusalem artichoke is really within the reach of all gardeners even the most novice. Cold resistant down to -20 ° C, it also supports heat! This plant can therefore be cultivated in most regions.

Planting Jerusalem artichoke

The rhizomes are planted either in spring or in autumn, in full sun and if possible sheltered from the wind.

This plant tolerates all types of soil but grows best in drained and fertile soil, do not hesitate to add compost in poor and sandy soil.

  • Plant it tuber between 5 and 10 cm deep by laying it on the ground.

  • Space each bulb at least 50 cm in all directions.

  • Fill the hole again and water.

Caring for Jerusalem artichoke

  • When the stem reaches a height of 20 cm, form a mound around it.

  • In the event of a windy zone, stake the stems.

  • Keep the soil cool, but never soggy, to keep the plant growing quickly. If you forget to water, don’t panic, Jerusalem artichoke is drought-tolerant for a while, it will just stop growing.

  • Prune wilted stems in late fall.


Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info.

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