Seven months ago I planted three little jerusalem artichokes/topinambours/fartichokes into a big plastic pot. I was really late, but I assumed there was still enough time left to get the root veg growing. This weekend we dug up our first ever harvest of jerusalem artichokes and it was a good one! So good, that I might decide to replace most of the potato bags that we had this year with these topinambours. For those of you that don’t know this root vegetable, it’s a root that grows under a specific type of sunflower that originally comes form North-America. It’s often eaten as a replacement for potatoes. It has a much sweeter taste and is less starchy in taste as well. It’s also said that they make you produce more *smelly* gasses, that’s why they are also called fartichokes. You will find this vegetable under different names on the internet and in shops and at the same time you will also find very different varieties. Some are longer, others are more red, and so on.
I can’t say taste wise it’s a perfect replacement for potatoes, but it doesn’t need to be really. It has some more beneficial qualities than potatoes. Some say that the veg has a good effect on people with Diabetes Type II due to the fructose. Whatever it does, it’s always nice to have some variation in the kitchen by using whatever your seasonal garden has to offer you. And our garden offered us fartichokes this weekend. Otherwise the veg can be harvested until somewhere in January or February, depending on where you are. We harvested it early, but it’s said that they taste better after the first frost.
You can grow the topinambour in the ground or in a pot, like we did. They tend to spread in your garden I’ve heard, so that’s why I chose to grow them in a pot. This way you can contain them more successfully.
As you can see above, I placed them in this pot in may of this year. Now barely 6 months later, without giving them any attention they produced topinambours for at least two or three meals. The root also had a lot of small topinambours that I left in the pot after I picked of the big ones. I’m hoping that next year I’ll get new topinambours form the small leftover ones. The ones I grew this year were just lefover topinambours from the ones I bought in a regular grocery store. I just kept a few and placed them in soil while they were still wet and moist.
Growing them is really easy. You take a big pot and place soil on the bottom, to fully cover about 15-20cm. Then you place the topinambours on top and cover them with 15cm of soil. And then you wait. You add water if it’s not raining, but they aren’t too sensitive. You do have to be careful with where you place the pot as the topinambours produce really big sunflowers. If the pot isn’t too stable, it might fall down due to wind. I must admit that mine did produce a big plant, but it didn’t produce a flower. Not so long ago the plant died and you can see it lying on the picture above. When your plant dies and you don’t want to dig up your topinambours, you can just cut of the stem and leave the roots untouched.
Easy peasy. People eat the topinambours in a lot of different ways. I like them best grilled in an oven dish together with some other root veggies. With a touch of aioli or horseradish sauce maybe. How do you eat them?