The garden redesign is progressing, with two of the three raised beds dismantled. This morning I have harvested the (volunteer) oca tubers out of the third, so we can continue. When I was out in the garden with Pete, we dug up the Jerusalem artichokes – planted in the ground this year for the first time. The monster ‘choke above is one of last year’s, but this year’s harvest is equally sizeable, knobbly and fills an entire crate. It’s not surprising, as the thicket the plants produced all but cut off access to the garden from late summer onwards. Sadly I had to cut them back before they could flower; they stopped be getting to the sorrel, and the chickens were miffed.
Pete’s digestive system has been a bit sensitive this year, and so I can fully understand his desire not to eat any of the artichokes. They are particularly wind-inducing for many people, due to the indigestible starch inulin they contain. It’s very good for you, if you can tolerate it, being both low-calorie and a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria in your gut. But sadly many people suffer terrible after effects, which is one reason why Jerusalem artichokes have topped Sainsbury’s Top of the Pops list this year. (I love that PR puff piece, mostly because of its inadvertent use of the word ‘trump’, which is apparently the word Pete used to use instead of ‘fart’ when he was still at school :)
I may well try to force a few roots and try Radix’s artichicons and see whether they are a possible alternative. My Twitter pals have come up with several ways to use up my artichokes, many of which still involve eating them (as lovely chips, in soup, with some live yoghurt to calm the effects) and one which involves turning them into beer. One suggestion is to cook them and feed them to the chickens….
It seems unlikely that Jerusalem artichokes will be on the ‘To Grow’ list for next year, if we’re not going to eat them, but more about that later.