THE JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE
After a global cataclysmic natural or manmade disaster, it is well documented that the earth will have three main surviving species – the rat, the cockroach, and the Jerusalem Artichoke. As a vegetarian, I am unwilling to post recipes for animal recipes, but should you be lucky enough to survive, the recipes below will ensure that you are adequately fed and watered.
CULTIVATION OF ARTICHOKE TUBERS
They are grown in the same spot each year, for if you miss a tuber it will grow like a ‘volunteer’ potato, so prepare the ground well with compost or manure if you can get it, which you can top up as a mulch in winter. Be careful where you site them, the foliage easily reaches 2 metres and 2.4 metres is common. The stems are sometimes fragile and you may need to provide support with stakes and string in windy locations. Plant individual tubers about 40 to 60cm (15″ to 24″) apart around 12cm (4″ to 6″) deep in early spring (Or indeed, antime you have them) and in a few weeks (in spring) the shoots will appear.
In the autumn the foliage starts to change colour and should be cut down to about 30cm (12″) above the ground as a marker. You can leave them in the ground to dig as required. They are quite a productive crop, 3kg from one plant is typical so you don’t need many seed tubers. Return a few medium tubers to the ground and they will form next year’s crop. Eat the tiddlers.
The Wine recipe I used was as follows. The beauty of this one is that once boiled the artichokes can be popped out of their skins and the insides used or frozen – no tedious peeling.
The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) is a native American species of sunflower. The plant is covered with sunflower-like flowers in late summer which can be use to make wine using either of the Sunflower Wines recipes. Jerusalem artichokes grow in dense clusters in the South and develop tubers in their roots that are usually harvested after the first frost. They are an exceptional food, both raw and cooked, and make a pretty darned good wine.
JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE FRITTERS
These were made with the boiled tubers arising from the wine recipe (see below). No need to peel the tubers, just scrub, boil and when they feel tender, pop them out of their skins.
Quantities are ‘to taste’.
- Bowl of cooked artichoke tubers.
- 1 large onion
- Herbs and seasoning to taste e.g. combinations including; chilli, sage, rosemary, salt, pepper, paprika, herbs de provence, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper. Also fresh herbs usable.
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well until mix can be shaped into fritters. Use flour on board and hands to shape, chill in fridge for appx 1hr if possible. Lightly fry until golden and transfer to the oven to heat through thoroughly, serve.
JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE WINE
- 5-6 lbs Jerusalem artichoke tubers
- 2 lbs dark or light brown sugar
- 2 lemons
- 2 oranges
- 1/2 oz ginger root
- 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
- water to one gallon
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- wine yeast
Scrub Jerusalem artichoke tubers, do not peel. Boil tubers in about 7 pints of water until tender. Remove the Jerusalem artichokes for other uses and retain the water for the wine. Put sugar in the water, along with the thinly peeled rinds (no pith, please) of the lemons and oranges and their juice. Thinly slice the ginger root and add to water. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes while stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and strain water into primary. Cover with sterile cloth and allow to cool to room temperature. Add pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient, stir, recover and set aside for 12 hours. Add activated wine yeast and ferment 7 days, stirring daily. Siphon into secondary, affix airlock and set aside to ferment out. Rack after 60 days, top up and reattach airlock. When wine clears, rack again, top up and reattach airlock. Rack again after 2 months and again 2 months later. Stabilize, sweeten if desired, allow to set 14 days to ensure fermentation does not restart, and rack into bottles.