Garden Action

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The most quotation below (John Goodyer, 1621) sums up much of the folklore surrounding Jerusalem artichokes:

"... in my judgement, which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking winde within the bodie, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men"

The thing is that Jerusalem artichokes have a pleasant, sweet and nutty taste but for some people that comes at a cost - wind! The good news is that most of us are not affected to any great degree.

The name, Jerusalem artichoke is very misleading because the plants are not artichokes and have nothing to do with Jerusalem. The " artichoke" part of the name was given when Samuel de Champlain first sent the tubers to France from North America. He described their taste as being like artichokes and that name has stuck. The Jerusalem part comes from a mispronunciation of Girasole (Italian for sunflower). Jerusalem artichokes are really sunflowers with tuberous, edible roots.

Because of the misleading name, many people now refer to Jerusalem artichokes as sunchoke or sunroot.

Sunchokes have approximately six times the potassium content of a banana, so beware if you have kidney problems of any kind.