Let the sun(choke) shine in

So it’s about -147° tonight. (Perhaps I exaggerate, but we Southerners are not accustomed to wind speed higher than the actual temperature.) Maybe that’s why I’m dreaming about tall fields of warm, summery sunflowers.

But not just any sunflower. Jerusalem artichokes, a.k.a. sunchokes. These beauties have an edible root that tastes like a cross between a potato and a water chestnut. And they store like mad. We’re making pies for dinner using chokes that have been in the fridge for almost two months, and their texture hasn’t changed a bit.

Roots rockOkie dokie, artichokie

For the first time, I’m saving some of the smaller roots to plant after the last frost, so I’ll report on their progress throughout the year. I can’t imagine a more attractive crop — perfect for an urban farm where appearance matters. And they’ll reseed year after year, making them as cost-effective as they are delicious.

Spring might be months away but for tonight, at least, our thoughts (and stomachs) will be warm thanks to a hearty meal from these stalks of bright yellow happiness.

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  • How do you prepare and cook Jerusalem artichokes? Where did you get your starts? I’m considering ordering some from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. They charge $22 for 1.5 lbs.

  • Hey Vic. I did the cooking this time, so I can field that part: The pot pie recipe called for peeling the artichokes, but that seemed both difficult and silly, since there’s not much skin. I scrubbed them with the veggie brush before chopping them up for the pie. That recipe calls for sauteing them with the other veg for a good while until it’s all tender. But you can eat them raw, too. They’re sort of water-chestnutty raw.

    We got these as part of our CSA, and Jenn’s looking at supplementing with some from Johnny’s or Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

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