It really is Autumn. We got home from Wisconsin and Mary decided this was the moment we need to tear up her garden. She was right, it’s looking pretty dead with rotting tomatoes and eggplants, with a few healthy pumpkins scattered around.

She was less concerned about the garden than she was this patch — those are gigantic sunchoke stems so large that they’ve started falling over.

So we pulled them up, and what we found were dense masses of tubers.

We filled up a couple of ten gallon buckets with these things.

They better taste good — we’ve never had them before, but they’re supposed to taste like sweet potatoes? Maybe? Mary grew them, so now it’s my turn to cook them.


  1. Angle says

    They have Inulin in them, an indigestible protein – but apparently as long as you cook them well it shouldn’t be a problem?

  2. garnetstar says

    PZ, I’m so jealous, I love sunchokes and can’t get them. They taste so good! They are also fabulously healthy, apparently they feed the good bacteria in the lower gut really well.


  3. lb says

    I’ve got tons of sunchokes, too. They’re easy to grow, taste good and are great in stews. But be prepared for some intestinal upset and serious evil wind until your body gets used to it. Good luck!

  4. says

    We used to have sunchokes in our garden but we did not like the taste at all so we promptly stopped growing them. They were a persistent weed for a few years afterward before we managed to get all the tubers out.

  5. charley says

    Saute a few with garlic and olive oil. You will be disappointed and compost the rest, but at least you won’t ruin a stew.

  6. wzrd1 says

    Angle @ 1, my understanding is that the inulin breaks down if stored for a bit.
    Didn’t know about the tuber, as I usually enjoy regular artichokes (and entirely different beasts), but I’ll happily try a few if the opportunity arises. Fructose is also fairly high in them, so they should be fairly tasty. If it’s an edible plant, I’ll try it. Well, save perhaps bitter cassava.

  7. Jazzlet says

    We call them Jerusalem artichokes over here, and I love them. They make fine soup which can be made even better with the addition of a few finely minced hazelnuts.

    I would be extremely surprised if you got all of the tubers, if they like where they are, and those plants certainly look as if they did it can be rather hard to get rid of them. Which isn’t a problem for me.

  8. Dr. Pablito says

    Yeah, go easy with them at first, cause they’ll give you the trots. Don’t overdo. Tasty, though.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    Don’t you have any poisonous plants? I watched Game of Thrones, those can be useful.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    If you ever use artichokes, make sure to prepare and cook them in accordance with instructions. Otherwise, consequences.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    Allulose is a low-calorie substitute to sugar that hardly interacts with the metabolism.
    Since tubers apparently grow well in your state you should GM the hell out of them to get cheap allulose for the food industry.

  12. wzrd1 says

    Just need one enzyme to convert allulose to fructose, I’d wrangle some yeast or bacteria to do that one for me. After all, they do work for cheap.
    Oddly, I’m tolerant to allulose and inulin, no gas or bloating. But then, I’ve never quite figured out my colonization in my gut, it works ever so well in odd ways, but gets a liquid temper tantrum over apparently nothing whatsoever at times. Upside, never needed a stool softener, mostly due to the large amount of greens that I enjoy eating.
    And the tolerance, possibly due to not repeating the same meal daily, typically rotating different types of food each day, even when having leftovers (such as a ton of greens and fowl one day, pasta the next, any leftovers alternating beyond a day or two between repeats).
    And despite that, chronically low on magnesium… :/
    Oh well, the body, one doesn’t have to understand it, only live in it.

  13. StevoR says

    @11. birgerjohansson : “Don’t you have any poisonous plants? I watched Game of Thrones, those can be useful.”

    Probly being Cap’n Obvs here but actually many plants are both edible and poisionous including common staples like potatoes and tomatoes and iconic species like eggplant / aubergine :

    Solanine is a glycoalkaloid poison found in species of the nightshade family within the genus Solanum, such as the potato (Solanum tuberosum), the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), and the eggplant (Solanum melongena). It can occur naturally in any part of the plant, including the leaves, fruit, and tubers. Solanine has pesticidal properties, and it is one of the plant’s natural defenses. Solanine was first isolated in 1820 from the berries of the European black nightshade (Solanum nigrum), after which it was named.

    Source :

    So when you’re having chips or baked spuds or tomato relish you are eating from a poisonous species of flora albeit not the poisionous parts thereof..

  14. brightmoon says

    My grandmother planted them thinking that they were the flower bud artichokes . She wondered why they looked like yellow daisies when they bloomed. I did tell her that she’d have to eat the tubers but she didn’t believe me. I’m sure they’re still in the backyard even though it’s been about 50 years. She knew them as Jerusalem artichokes.

  15. wzrd1 says

    StevoR @ 15, save if potatoes go green. Then, even the spuds have solanine. A very literal natural nerve agent.
    Great stuff if one’s weekend plans involve waking up dead.
    It’s also why potatoes are supposed to be stored in a dark place.
    But now, I’ve got an urge to have some eggplant and I’m fresh out of it. I’ll have to get a small one tomorrow when I’m at the store. I shared an eggplant lasagna with some neighbors shortly after I moved in, still get occasional requests for it. Even for the version where I subbed tofu out in place of ricotta cheese.