After recent bitter cold and gray cloudy days, today the cloud cover began breaking up. I took advantage of the warmer temperature and journeyed out to the vegetable garden beds. I weeded a few and it felt great to have my hands in the dirt — even if it was cold dirt.
Next I visited the bed of Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes, scientific name of Helianthus tuberosus). Last year a friend gave me a chunk of Sunchokes with dried stalks sticking up. I had broken the clump apart and planted the pieces in the ground — not knowing what to expect from this experiment as I’ve never grown them before.
Somewhere I read that it was best to let the first year’s growth of Sunchokes be and not harvest them until the second and subsequent years (kind of like asparagus). Well, here I was today with dried eight-foot (plus) tall stalks leaning every which way from the latest wind storm. I decided to break them off near the ground and “tidy up” the bed a bit. To my surprise, when I attempted to break off the first stalk, it came up from the ground instead and brought with it a group of very large and beautiful Sunchokes.
I re-planted one of the Sunchoke tubers and felt ever so grateful for the unexpected harvest of a large handful of Sunchokes. Since I wasn’t sure of the “best” way to prepare them, I sliced them thinly, ate a few raw (nice crunch and mild taste) and cooked the remainder in a bit of olive oil with some salt thrown in. The cooked Sunchokes were delicious as this softened them nicely and brought out some of their sugars. I ate them all before I thought to take a photo of them. Next time I’ll take some photos first . . .