Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I see that its been several years since anyone has posted about Sunchokes, Jerusalem Artichokes or as the Algonquin called them, Kaishúcpenauk.

There are well over 400 recognized varieties of Sunchokes AKA Jerusalem Artichokes, Topinambours and Fartichokes, called by the Algonquins 'Kaishúcpenauk', a compound of "sun" and "tubers", scattered over the world. [Kaishúcpenauk, from - (Thomas Harriot. A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (Kindle Location 273)]. Helianthus tuberosus are a native to Northeast America, from the Carolinas into Canada and west to the Great Plains. They were spread around the world during colonial days. They were a staple for the Native Americans and early pioneers and others until the 1930s when, probably because of the Great Depression and food shortages, they gained the reputation of being a poor man's food. What a shame. I friend of ours in Tasmania remembers her mother cooking them when she was younger. In Europe they gained the same popularity until WWI, when again, because of food shortages and over-use, they gained the notoriety of being a poor man's food. They grew on the farm when I was a kid. Neither my grandparents nor my parents wanted to do anything with them, but I loved to get into the patch and eat them raw. Today they're a high priced item in many gourmet restaurants and from most suppliers, up to a ridiculous $25 per pound! Closely related to the familiar Sunflower, all parts of the plant are edible. Other related varieties are Helianthus pauciflorus, normally found in the Great Plains and south-central Canada. These ones spread by tubers and by seed. They can apparently be cross pollinated with the eastern variety.
When harvested in the fall, start eating the roots in small helpings to see how they affect your gut, they aren't called Fartichokes for nothing! If you eat naturally and have a good helping regularly, at least twice a week, the gas issue(!) should disappear. If you eat processed food with any type of preservatives or take antibiotics, your gut flora will be 'off' and gas could once again be a problem if you take even a short break from regular helpings, perhaps a major problem. Small helpings of Kaishúcpenauk eaten regularly will help balance your gut flora and your health and reduce the gas to nothing. Long term cooking, several hours, will break the inulin down into fructose, much less likely to cause gas. Fermenting them like sauerkraut will also break down the inulin. Native Americans would build a pit fire, get the coals hot, cover them with dirt or leaves, sometimes the stalks and leaves of the Kaishúcpenauk, then layer on the 'chokes and cover them with dirt or leaves and allow them to cook for a whole day before eating. They are tasty and the long cooking converts the inulin, but then, you lose the good effects of the inulin.
Inulin is a prebiotic and is very diabetic friendly, even after breaking down into fructose its low on the Glycemic scale, better than potato starch for diabetics. If the Inulin breaks down however, you loose its prebiotic benefits. There is some evidence that regular use of Inulin may have a positive effect on blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and several intestinal disorders from Leaky Gut to Colon cancer. Either way, as Inulin or fructose they are low on the Glycemic scale and a good replacement for potatoes for diabetics.
I have three varieties. Two are knobby tubers, one white and one red. The white ones, Stampede, I bought from an online supplier several years ago, the red ones, Red Fescue possibly, I found in a small flower bed in town, DuBois, PA. in 2017. There are at least three other patches in town too. I have no idea what types they are. Just proof that they used to be very popular, but have been forgotten. They both grow about 5' to 7' tall and the large, 3" bright yellow flowers are tender enough to eat raw in salads. They smell like chocolate but taste like the roots. The third type I found growing feral in the woods near Punxsutawney, PA., home of the infamous Punxsy Phil woodchuck. I live in DuBois, about 15 miles north of Punxsy. The tubers on these look very similar to white carrots and are very easy to clean. Those flowers however, are too tough to chew raw. When either steamed or boiled, they resemble squash. The tops on these grow to 12'! Double the height of the other ones, need a privacy screen?
Once you know what to look for, they can usually be found most anywhere in the eastern half of the US. They can be found in old flower gardens in cities, towns and out in the country, and sometimes wild in the woods. They can be found in many other areas around the world where they've been taken.
My varieties don't seed at all, but there are some that seed readily and others that rarely seed. They all spread very well from the roots. They are perennial from zones 8 to 4. Beyond zone 8 they need to be chilled below 50°F for a month or two for dormancy. Beyond zone 4 they need to be heavily mulched to protect them from the intense cold, then uncovered in early spring, or stored in warmer storage but below 50°F, then planted early, as long before the ground warms up to 50°F as is practical. They will spread throughout a garden and can be hard to get rid of if you decide to clean them out, so put them where you can keep them contained by mowing or with good borders and let them go! They're care free, disease free and the tender shoots in the spring are loved by deer, cattle, goats, sheep, groundhogs, rabbits, ducks and some chickens. The roots can be fed to chickens and pigs. The tops are tough, but can be fed as fodder to goats, pigs and cows. They have to be cut while quite green which can cut or ruin root development. Slugs and voles like the roots and can be a problem. Let some chickens or ducks patrol the patch and they'll take care of the slugs. Some chickens like mice and voles too, after all, they're mini-raptors! Any roots left on the surface after harvesting are appreciated by rabbits and chickens.
If you plant them and then decide to get rid of them later on, you can simply mow the area as you would your lawn. The roots will disappear in a couple years or so. If you want to revert the patch to other garden goods immediately, then you'll have to resort to spraying with herbicides. You won't be able to get all the roots out no matter now carefully you dig, unless you actually sift all of the soil through a sieve. Smothering with cardboard or landscape cloth or carpeting will also work, but you won't be able to use the ground for at least a year until they smother. If you want to grow Kaishúcpenauk, you will have to dedicate an area just for them. On the bright side, the Kaishúcpenauk can be used in place of corn or alongside corn in the Native American Three Sisters planting scheme. When the Kaishúcpenauk break ground, plant corn alongside or skip the corn and just use the Kaishúcpenauk for the bean scaffolding. When the corn or the Kaishúcpenauk are 6" high, plant the pole beans among the stalks. When the beans are up 6" and starting to climb the corn and/or Kaishúcpenauk stalks, plant your Squash. The tall stalks give the beans support. The beans give the corn, Kaishúcpenauk and Squash Nitrogen. The squash shade the ground and the roots conserving moisture for all. And if you plant a climbing squash or melon, you might want to keep them in separate hills from the beans for easier picking.
They can be dug in the fall after the tops die and turn brown, or in the spring before they sprout. If your soil doesn't freeze, you can dig them any time throughout the winter from the time the tops die off until the roots start to sprout. When the soil gets around 50 to 55°F they're triggered into sprouting. Like turnips, they get sweeter after hard frosts or a long winter's freeze. The inulin breaks down into fructose as they age and freeze, this is what makes them sweeter and helps reduce the gas. Its claimed that they can be stored in a root cellar like carrots and other root crops, mixed with soil, sand or sawdust and kept damp but not wet. They will rot if too wet and they will wilt if too dry. Commercial yields with commercial varieties, commercial planting, fertilizing and harvesting are calculated at a ratio of 1 to 30. That's 1 lb. planted with 30 lbs. yield.
They're great raw, steamed, roasted, baked, boiled, mashed, chunked into soups and stews, pickled, fermented, baked, grilled, pan fried, and for some, deep fried. To some, deep frying doesn't make them taste good. To me, when added to soups and stews, they taste like turnipy potatoes but to my wife, they taste like grilled sweet corn! I'm almost jealous! They seem to have a different flavor for some which could explain why there are some people who don't like them. We've canned them like potatoes, pickles, relish etc. Goo-o-od! I'll dry some and see about making flour this year. Its a great thickener for stews and gravies. It bakes like Buckwheat flour so you have to mix wheat flour for it to raise, or make flat bread, which is OK too. A blend of 1/3 Kaishúcpenauk flour and 2/3 rice flour is supposed to be great and its gluten free. It can either be chipped and dehydrated then ground or boiled, mashed and dehydrated then ground. When chips are dried, they can be tossed with Olive oil and herbs or spices for a healthy alternative to potato chips.
I made wine from the flowers. Its very earthy, not bad as is, or for mixing with other wines. I also made wine from tuber broth. Its totally different for a drinking wine for my taste, but after it ages it makes a great cooking wine. The French and Germans make a liqueur from the roots that's supposed to be quite special. A brewer in the US also makes root liqueur.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup raw slices
Calories 110
Calories from Fat 0
Amount Per Serving and/or % Daily Value*
Total Fat 0 g (0%)
Saturated Fat 0 g (0%)
Cholesterol 0 mg (0%)
Sodium 5 mg (0%)
Total Carbohydrate 26 g (9%)
Dietary Fiber 2 g (10%)
Sugars 4 g
Protein 3 g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 10%
Calcium 2%
Iron 25%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Calories: 2,000 2,500
Total Fat Less than 65 g 80 g
Sat Fat Less than 20 g 25 g
Cholesterol Less than 300 mg 300 mg
Sodium Less than 2400 mg 2400 mg
Total Carbohydrate 300 g 375 g
Dietary Fiber 25 g 30 g
https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/inulin-uses-and-risks
https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/jerusart.html
http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/188324/jerusalem-artichoke-soup-video
https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/devour/2013/12/25-ways-to-use-jerusalem-artichokes
https://www.google.ca/search?kgmid=/m/02cgtz&hl=en-CA&q=Jerusalem+artichoke&shndl=0&entrypoint=sh/x/kp
https://www.bonappetit.com/ingredient/jerusalem-artichoke
http://www.mofga.org/Publications/The-Maine-Organic-Farmer-Gardener/Spring-2003/Jerusalem-Artichoke
 

·
Five Oaks Ranch-in SW AR
Joined
·
315 Posts
I have some sunchokes of unknown type, but mine dont get as big as the ones I see in stores. Still yummy!
 

·
keep it simple and honest
Joined
·
3,809 Posts
I have a small patch, maybe 3-4 feet in diameter. I've never eaten them, but let them grow as a possible emergency food, for a just-in-case event. Mine are a 5-6 foot variety. They are next to the house. I've never seen them bothered by the deer...maybe there are other things on the menu that they prefer.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,628 Posts
I had a huge patch and was going to get around to trying them a few years back. That summer we had a terrible drought and I couldn't carry enough water to keep them going. It got so dry the ground had cracks several feet long and 3 to 9 inches deep. That summer I lost what I thought was all of the crop. This year I noticed a few plants. I'm not sure if it's enough to keep the patch going and eat some or not so I'll try moving a few to a new patch.
 

·
Interrobanger
Joined
·
5,653 Posts
I have grown them for about 8 years. Love them in salads and boiled and mashed. Skinning them can be tricky - some years they are all knobby and other years they are smoother. Mine get about 8 feet high and when I harvest them, I toss the plants out of the garden and the deer always enjoy them!

Only trouble is, once you have grown them, they are difficult to control and will show up unexpectedly even though you were sure you got them all dug out.
 

·
Five Oaks Ranch-in SW AR
Joined
·
315 Posts
I don't peel/skin mine, just scrub them clean with a veggie brush. I like them baked, but they sure aren't pretty!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,628 Posts
Only trouble is, once you have grown them, they are difficult to control and will show up unexpectedly even though you were sure you got them all dug out.
I made sure I planted mine where that wouldn't be a problem because I read about several complaints of just that problem. They spread from seed as well as roots/tubers.

Hummingbirds feed from the flowers and several birds eat the abundant seeds. It's a great wildlife plant as well as a food source for people. Win win IMO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,540 Posts
I have at least 5 varieties, started collecting more than 15 years ago and have let them grow wild in a portion of unused ground. I'm actually driving to a lower in elevation valley today where the ground is not yet frozen to dig a few out of a ditch- a dark purple type with slightly purple flesh. Very unique.
The odd part of my variety collection is my stomach can't handle them. I'm interested in all perennial veggies and collect anything hardy, this is the one I just can't eat. Hoping to find a recipe that takes the fart out!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,540 Posts
RoBlaine and Fireweed Farm, I'd be interested in buying some of those varieties. Any chance you'd be willing to sell a few?
Sorry but I’m in Canada so shipping would likely be illegal.
If you have facebook, there is a page called I believe Cultivariable on the west coast that seems to showcase and sell different unique perennial tuber crops.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I have at least 5 varieties, started collecting more than 15 years ago and have let them grow wild in a portion of unused ground. I'm actually driving to a lower in elevation valley today where the ground is not yet frozen to dig a few out of a ditch- a dark purple type with slightly purple flesh. Very unique.
The odd part of my variety collection is my stomach can't handle them. I'm interested in all perennial veggies and collect anything hardy, this is the one I just can't eat. Hoping to find a recipe that takes the fart out!
Fireweed, there are several ways to handle the gas. One is to let them freeze for at least a month, over winter in the ground is best if your area has moderate to hard winters. Another way is extended cooking. The American Natives would build a pit fire, get it good and hot, cover the coals with leaves, then layer on the 'chokes and cover them with more leaves and dirt so they cook for at least 12 hours. 24 hours is good enough usually to convert every bit of the Inulin into fructose. The third way is with fermentation, either just like sauerkraut, or wine! I tried the sauerkraut method but my wife and I have to watch our salt, so I went too light with the salt and they tasted a bit musty. Follow a good kraut recipe and they'll turn out pretty darned good. Tuber wine is a bit stout for my taste, but as a cooking wine, oooo! its great! Flower wine is much more mellow and its a great drinking wine plus its neutral enough to mix nearly 50:50 with other wines and gives a really good earthy flavor! Inulin is what causes the gas and it will convert to fructose.
Now for the kicker concerning Inulin. Its a prebiotic soluble fiber which means it feeds the good bacteria in your large gut. Due to preservatives in our 'modern' diet, most all of us have some degree of what's called SIBO - Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. The small gut uses the stomach acid and motility (the churning and pushing action) to break down or digest our food in the second step after the stomach. There should be very little bacterial action in the small gut, but today, most of us have this imbalance in the lower end of it, just before the food enters the large gut. The large gut is the third step in digestion where bacteria normally flourish and finish breaking down the nearly acid neutralized food. With bacteria encroaching into the small gut, we get irritations such as Leaky Gut, IBS and several other issues. Regular ingestion of Inulin every day can help balance the gut chemistry and move the bacteria down where they belong. During this process, the overload of bacteria can cause mucho gas and products such as Bean-O won't touch it! Bean-O works to keep proteins common in beans from becoming gas and has no effect on Inulin which is a fiber. Stick with small/tiny daily helpings for a solid week to a week and a half and the bacteria will balance out. But you have to stay with it, every other day at least to keep the guts balanced. The upside is that you should notice much better gut health. I take daily Inulin supplement for my guts and that keeps me from experiencing the gassss! Commercial Inulin supplements come from Chicory root, 'chokes and Blue Agave.
Ellendra, we only have a 1 1/2 in-town lot, not much room. What little we grow, we use for ourselves. Normally we don't have enough to sell, especially after this super-wet summer we've had in Pennsylvania. They didn't produce like normal and a lot of them are either pithy or they have soft, nearly rotted ends. I'm not happy. They prefer moderate to very dry weather. They are so good canned plain like potatoes. Toss them into soups, stews, breakfast 'taters or side dishes. We also can them up as pickles and relishes. In my opinion they take up the pickling flavors much better than cukes! Harvested in the fall you get the full effect of the Inulin. If you harvest in the spring, after a good winter freeze, the Inulin has been converted to fructose and they are much sweeter, just like turnips and parsnips get sweeter when harvested in the spring.
My latest use of the tuber wine; I chopped up four medium yellow onions and caramelized them in a frying pan with a good dash of Olive oil for 45 minutes. In the last 10 minutes or so I tossed in 8 sprigs of fresh Thyme, 4 sprigs of fresh Peppermint, 1 Tsp of Turmeric and about a cup of the 'choke tuber wine. I put that into a stock pot with 3 quarts of water. I used another quart to deglaze the frying pan and poured that in to the pot and simmered it all for another 45 minutes. Best Onion soup EVER! Cook with Peppermint! Its as good as any other herb in most dishes. I have it growing around our foundation and we always have a huge supply and we hardly ever have ants, even on our back deck where we hang out in the summer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
I raise them for my rabbits. I harvest the tubers and re-plant a few of them at the same time in the fall. All summer I trim off leaves and stems and feed to the rabbits. Rabbits love them over ANY other feed, even pellets. I usually plant and feed more each year.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,628 Posts
Good to know. Right now I am feeding my rabbits cooked butternut squash which they devour as soon as my hand is out of their way. I'll have to dig some sunchoke tubers and replant close to the rabbit pen so they are easier to access.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top