Jerusalem Artichokes (Helianthus Tuberosa)
J-chokes are perennial sunflowers with edible tubers. These are vigorous, spreading native plants with a lot of diversity. Some varieties reach over 12 feet tall (yes, two feet taller than a basketball hoop) while others only reach 6 feet. The tubers can be smooth, knobby, red, or white. They taste like a cross between a radish and a potato and are best eaten raw. We eat them right out of the garden during spring and fall. No matter how many tubers you harvest, there always seems to be more left behind and they keep coming back. They will spread and out-compete weeds.
At the end of summer is when J-chokes flower, a bright yellow small sunflower when the rest of the plant world starts turning brown and grey.
Wild White- These are smooth skinned large tubers with excellent flavor. They spread very fast and are excellent producers. We harvested hundreds of tubers from a two year old patch that is only 8 feet wide. Plants reach 10-12'. This is our favorite variety for eating and cooking. It is likely an escaped cultivated variety. We have not found a better j-choke yet.
Wild Red- Small elongated red tubers. Spread fast, and reach a height of 6'
Stampede- Knobby white very large tubers, very vigorous. Will reach 12' or more.