Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tubersosus)
Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tubersosus), also known as Sunchoke, is a plant with keen survival instincts. Above the ground, Jerusalem Artichoke boasts beautiful towering, classic sunflower look-alikes. Below the earth, however, the plant reveals large edible and nutritious tubers! Think ginger meets potato. They're not related artichoke, but have a distinctly delicious artichoke-like flavor. Hence the nickname, Sunchoke (Sunflower + Artichoke!)
The hearty underground tubers have intrigued naturalist chefs, home gardeners, and the like. Jerusalem Artichokes are incredibly versatile as a veggie and can be prepared just like any other root vegetable.
Growing Jerusalem artichoke is best done without a lot of coddling. They grow effortless once established, are fast-growing, drought-resistant, and thrive in the heat of the summer. Planted in the garden, Jerusalem Artichoke spreads quickly from it's rhizomes. Before you know it, you will have a beautiful patch of Jerusalem Artichoke sunflowers that return year after year! Jerusalem Artichokes also grow really well in containers, where they will thrive and produce bountifully.
Potentially originally cultivated by Native Americans, Sunchokes later became a popular crop in Europe. Nowadays, Jerusalem artichoke plants can be found growing wild primarily throughout the Eastern United States where they were once grown as vegetable crops.