So when I was in the garden centre treating myself to a Venus fly trap growing kit, I also treated myself to these Jerusalem Artichoke tubers! I’ve wanted to try them for the last few years, and this year will finally be the year. (As long as everything goes right of course)
They are related to sunflowers and the daisy family, and have no relation to regular artichokes OR Jerusalem. They are actually native to North America and were brought back to Europe in 1605 by Champlain. He had found domestically grown tubers on Cape Cod, and took them back to France with him. The Native Americans had been growing them for years before Europeans arrived.
By the mid 1600’s in Europe and the Americas, the plant was widely used as a popular food for both humans and animals.
During WWII in Nazi Occupied France, the Jerusalem Artichokes (along with Rutabagas) became a common source of food because of rationing and more traditional foods being hard to come by. After the war, they went back to being mainly used for animal food.
Other names these are known by: Topinambour, Sunchokes, Canadian Truffle, Sunroot, Earth Apple, Canada Potato, French Potato, lambchoke and fartichoke. Yep, Fart-i-choke. Unlike most tubers, the plant stores it’s energy as inulin (a type of carbohydrate) instead of starch. This can lead to flatulence and lower gut pain, because our digestive system doesn’t break down inulin. But, bacteria in our colon metabolize it instead, leading to the gas.
I am excited to try these out, and I will keep you all in the loop on how they grow, how they taste, and weather or not the fartichoke name fits or not.