Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Local Superfood Sunchokes

It's time for our final harvest of sunchokes.  We can't believe it's mid December and we are still digging in soft garden soil. The ground is not frozen, there is no snow!  The sunchokes benefit from a light frost, as their flavour sweetens, so we were happy to wait.  Our final harvest is now in.

Sunchokes (Helianthus tuberosus) are a locally grown, easy to cultivate superfood.  They are native to eastern North America.  The plant is tall with a yellow sunflower at the top (in fact they are in the sunflower family).  Once they are planted in one spot, the roots will spread quickly and are hard to ever completely dig up (so choose spot wisely).  They are also known as earth apple, sunroot, Jerusalem artichoke, and other common names.  They are incredibly healthy, offering high levels of iron, B vitamins (especially vit B1), fibre, potassium, vitamin C, and are low-medium glycemic so easy on blood sugar.

The down side is that they don't store for very long.  They need to be kept in the ground as long as possible until near the eating time, best dug fresh and eaten that day.  They taste something like mashed potatoes when cooked - they can be steamed, boiled, baked, shredded and fried, and used as you would a potato.  We like them steamed with butter and salt, and some freshly chopped herbs like parsley, chives, dill, sage or basil.  If we don't have fresh herbs, the sunchokes are wonderful with pesto.\

We are happy to share our sunchokes with locals - so if you want sunchokes in your garden next year let us know.  We can share sprouts or roots in the spring.

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