Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jerusalem artichoke harvest

After a very long wait we were able to finally dig up our Jerusalem artichoke harvest. These are a favourite of Dave's and kind of like the first vegetable he has watched and cared for since we have been here. In the future once all the "Dave" jobs slow down with building, etc, he is hoping to spend more time in the garden growing the vegetables with me. I know that he will be good at it and will bring a certain science prone brain that I do not have.
He has been waiting for these artichokes to be ready because they are not something that you see around a whole lot, but we did work with them a bit as chefs in restaurants. They are amazing plants to watch grow and by the time they were topped with lovely little sunflower looking blooms they were as tall as me! On the weekend Dave had decided that the time had come and we set about pulling them up. We were amazed at the yield. I didn't weigh the end result but from just four plants we got two huge buckets full. We will definitely be growing them again and will keep aside a few roots to replant as seed. I've read that they can be invasive so I wouldn't recommend shoving them in the garden just anywhere. We are going to stick with keeping them contained in a raised bed.

To cook them they are treated kind of like a potato. I should also mention at this point that they are nothing like a globe artichoke; I have no idea why they have the same name but I can assure you that they are two very different vegetables. Dave loves j. artichoke soup so I set to making a pot of that fairly quickly. This is a labour of love, though, because peeling them is like peeling ginger. They are knobbly little roots and it takes a long time. But, the result was appreciated and so worth it. I just basically make a pureed soup with onions, potatoes and the artichokes, finished with a little cream. Yummy!
They are also good just roasted with the skins on or shallow fried. Be aware that they cook faster than an average potato so can overcook if you aren't careful.

I think that if I carefully store them like I would potatoes in a hessian bag, they will keep for a long time and maybe next year we will plant enough to have them available to us most of the year.