Preparing the Jerusalem Artichoke
Called “an excellent food plant” by perhaps the greatest non -native gatherer in North America, Euell Gibbons, whose books should be on the shelf( or E-reader) of every harvester of wild foods, the Jerusalem Artichoke is easy to find,easy to prepare and healthy.
Gloves on, lets get started.
Step 1: Description, Location and a Simple Hint
A member of the sunflower family, the Jerusalem Artichoke is found in waste areas,along some roadways, and in old fields. Its a tall plant, easily growing 6 or more feet in height, looking a lot like a sunflower but with narrower leaves and stems and a much smaller yellow blossom.
A hint for those looking for this plant and many other wild or edibles is to look for rows of flowering shrubs and or ruined foundations in rural areas . This are indicators of previous occupation and often contain the wild remains of previous gardens, and the edible weeds such as purslane, burdock etc. The picture with this step shows late summer Jerusalem Artichoke in front of a row a lilacs, a common lane-way and garden shrub of years ago.
Step 2: Bulbs in the Dirt
Once you have located a patch of Jerusalem Artichoke plants it's time to dig. The roots of this plant hold on tightly so I find it best to dig in a circle around a plant or two and then lift the whole plant, exposing the clump of roots. At the base of the roots will be a swollen bulb, this is the part you are looking for. Break the bulbs off and retain. There are often bulbs hidden in the mass of roots so I find it helpful to smash the root -ball on the ground a few times to loosen the dirt exposing the remaining bulbs.
Step 3: A Fist-Full of Food
With the dirt brushed off its easy to identify the bulbs.There are usually a lot of smaller bulbs but i prefer the finger size roots for ease of pealing.
Step 4: How Shall We Eat Them?
When you have the bulbs home,wash and peel the bulbs. Then its decision time.
Raw in a salad?
Cooked for 7-10 minutes in boiling salted water?
Pickled? Fried ? Roasted like potatoes?
The tyranny of choice!!!!
As versatile as potatoes, these free edibles are tasty no matter how prepared.The dish shown at the beginning of this instructable is boiled Jerusalem Artichoke with melted duck fat, a favorite of mine.