Last year I planted 7 (70-100mm) rhizomes of Jerusalem artichokes.  Over time they sent up green stalks (1200-1500mm) flowered and then  gradually the stalks have died down.  Yesterday when I was watering in the area I noticed some rhizomes poking through the soil around the base of the stems.

After digging around the base of one rhizome with a fork, I dug up the clump in the photo above.  This clump is about 300-400mm in diameter, so large and heavy.

It comprises both long smooth tubers and also smaller, knobbly rhizomes.  Does anyone know the difference between the two?

After two hours of hard labor washing and separating today, this is what I have ended up with.  A very bountiful reward from one 100mm piece of tuber.  I don't have scales, but I estimate it weighed 5-7kg.

And I still have 6 more tubers to dig up, I think I will be looking like a Jerusalem artichoke in a few weeks!!

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  • An update on my earlier post about Jerusalem artichokes.

    After comments from members and hours looking at You tube videos, I think my plants are in fact yacon.

    I thought that the original rhizomes I purchased from Caboolture markets were Jerusalem artichokes.

    I have eaten some of the large smooth tubers raw and it is pleasantly sweet and crunchy, just as yacon should be.

    Is it possible to roast the knobbly rhizomes?  or is there another way to use them?  I gather they are used for propagation for the next seasons crop.  However there is miles more than I need for replanting.

    Perhaps I have ended up with a better plant than I thought I was getting.  Also from my reading it seems that yacon is not invasive like Jerusalem artichokes can become.

    Can they be pickled or turned into an alcoholic brew from our creative brewing members!!

  • I also believe that the larger, smooth tubers are yacon. If they are, you should try them raw, apparently they are comparable to a fruit in flavour.

    • I found them to be apple-like in texture but potato with a hint of sweet in taste. 

      • Yes as I said. Yacon. While the J-chokes have biggish yellow flowers (being a sunflower fam member), Yacon has delicate yellow flower with many petals. But it could hide easily inside your J-choke clump. Cut open they are whitish to light yellow and crisp inside with a thin skin, whereas the J-choke is an off grey. While you can sometimes get deformities among the J-chokes , the tubers do not balloon like the ones in your photo -- nor do they generate such a smooth skin as J-chokes are gnarled.

        Yacon 'fruits'  are also attached to the 'root' stem, and are shallow clumpers,  whereas J-chokes kinda meander about the dirt hanginf off root lines. Harvest is like an Easter egg hunt.

        Yacon do taste like apples -- thus the name 'Ground Apple'. Akin to a light Granny Smith that's been left cut for a few hours.

        Yacon and J-chokes are often discussed together because they are a good source of Inulin (a major prebiotic)  which generates their sweetness. Inulin is a powerful supplement in itself and feeds specific gut microbial populations. This is partly why there's the fartiness side effect.

        If it becomes an issue -- aside from different prep methods -- the Mexicans deal with flatulence by adding Epazote ( a herb) to legume dishes. I LOVE Epazote despite its weird pine taste.So I'm waiting anxiously for it to come up for another season as it self-seeds keenly.

  • This handy hint from the Modern Farmer - I know that a lot of people have gas problems after eating Jerusalem artichokes as did my wife, who tried several times and ways without success. However, she finally came upon a way through trial and error, which has completely eliminated the gas problem for her, no matter how much she eats. What she does is first slice the artichokes and then cover them with water with salt added. (About 2 quarts of water would get one teaspoon of salt.) She then lets them sit overnight (or the equivalent) and then rinses them. Then she puts them in a pot, covers them with water and just brings them to a boil. Finally she pours off the water and stir fries the artichokes. They are still quite crispy with good flavor, but without being gassy. Now she loves them and wants me to plant even more!

    This may help a little, Vivienne.

    • Thanks for the suggestion Christa.  When I had eaten Jerusalem artichokes in the past I had never had a problem with excess gas production, so was not aware of the problem that some people have.

      I have also found an article using lemon juice at the following link:

      I suspect it may also depend on the variety of gut bacteria that any individual has in their microbiome.

      • What a great crop.  And now you get bio-gas as a side benefit.  We just need to work out how to hook you up to some kind of big bladder so we don't waste any.  

        • I know just the place to install a biogas digester, I think it's called "McDowall Manor", I gather the people there really embrace way out ideas!!!

          • I'd love one. They come in a kit with a proper toilet and are quite tidy units. My off grid mate Paul uses bio for cooking and lighting. The Minister for Finance and War has already embargoed me getting one. 

            • I have been barred from getting one as well!

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