ARTICHOKE, Jerusalem (Sun Root) Compositae Helianthus tuberosus
HABITAT: Perennial plant native to North America. Hardy zones 3-10.
USES: May be prepared in all ways that potatoes are served. Delicious raw and should not be over cooked. Use raw slices as last minute garnish in clear soups. Use lightly boiled tubers in salads with oil and vinegar dressing. Slowly sauté tubers in butter just until they are tender. Tubers may be baked, boiled, served in casseroles, fried, salads cooked or raw. Honey flavored liquid from steaming is delicious with salt and herbs. Also used as pickles and relishes.
HABIT: Tuberous perennial growing 6-10 feet tall with tough Sunflower-like yellow flowers blooming in August-September.
SEED GERMINATION: Sow seed indoors in moistened Park's Grow Mix. Cover 1 inch deep and keep moist at all times and at a 75 degree temperature within the sowing medium. Transplant to 2 1/4 inch peat pots or sow directly into peat pots or pellets and transplant outdoors when roots emerge from pot walls and as weather permits early in the spring. Sow outdoors early spring covering 3 inches deep. Thin to 2 1/2-3 feet apart each way.
CULTURE: Set tubers in loose, rich soil, well-drained and in full sun. Set out in early spring 4 inches deep and 12 inches apart each way. Fertilize soil prior to planting with 5 lbs. of 5-10-10 fertilizer per hundred square feet. Keep moist during growing season. Harvest will begin 100-105 days from planting. Dig some tubers in the fall for use but keep remaining tubers in the soil mulched deeply with straw, hay, etc. so they may be dug fresh in the spring. Tubers may also be stored in damp sand at 32-40 degrees. Freezing weather improves flavor. Very little maintenance is required other than frequent cultivation, watering, and feeding.
INSECTS: Aphids, Borer: Use an approved insecticide such as Malathion or Rotenone for control.
DISEASES: Rust: Use an approved fungicide such as Fermate for control.
Mildew: Use an approved fungicide such as Benlate for control.
PROPAGATION: Division of tubers and seed.
REMARKS: The Jerusalem Artichoke is not an Artichoke nor has it anything to do with Jerusalem. The original name "Girasole" (meaning, turning to the sun) was changed to Jerusalem and later someone added the Artichoke name. It is an American Sunflower known by the Indian name of Sun Root. The white tuberous root is eaten raw or cooked. Starch-like but starch-less and safely eaten by those who must restrict starch or sugars from their diets.