If you choose to grow vegetables, sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes should be at the top of the list. Drop the knobbly little tubers into the ground in a sunny spot where their tall flowers won't cause an obstruction, and you will enjoy year after year of this nutty crop with almost no effort. Sunchokes are perennials so they don't need to be sown every year. Their bright yellow flowers are lovely in the late summer. It's best to harvest sunchokes after the first frost because like Brussel sprouts, these vegetables turn sweet after a hit of sharp cold.
I was once told that they are the gassiest of vegetables but I think that's a small price to pay for this under-used gem. Sunchokes are a wise alternative to potatoes. While starchy, they are much better for you since the starch does not turn quickly to sugar in your body the way potatoes and other white starches do. True they are a little awkward to peel but if you cook them in their skins this becomes less of a problem.
Come up with as many uses as you can for potatoes and I guarantee sunchokes can be used in the same way. Whether baked, mashed, boiled, steamed, their flavor is far more interesting than potatoes. Plus you can eat them raw. I like them slice on a mandolin so they are thin and crispy and they honestly taste like a water chestnut!
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