15 January 2013, by gj
I first discovered these wonderful perennial tubers several years ago in my never-ending quest to plant new vegetables.
They are related to sunflowers, and look la lot like them.They smell like chocolate and taste something like water chestnuts.
Can it get any better than that?
Well, yes. They are very easy to grow, eat and store.
Plant in early spring by cutting the chokes to 1-2 eyes per piece and planting them 4-5 inches deep and about a foot apart.
Be sure of where you want them because they are difficult to kill.
We planted a few on opposite sides of the garden.
They do look pretty when they bloom.
We also have a little patch on the side of the house, where I planted them before I knew how hard they were to get rid of.
The Ladies are taking care of that bed.
Here in Zone 5/6 they start to bloom early in August. Although you can harvest late summer to fall, the sunchokes taste better if they get hit with a little frost.
Use as you would water chestnuts- fresh in salads or cooked in stir fry.
They can be kept frozen, refrigerated or in cool storage; just don’t let them dry out.
Botanical name: Helianthus tuberosus
Yield: One choke, broken and planted will yield many more. Perennial in most areas, with increasing harvests.
Plant height: Well over 6 ft.
Harvest: Best after frost.
Storage: Freeze or store cold.