Its name, Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus, does not, as it seems, imply that it grows in Palestine, but is a corruption of the Italian Girasola articiocco. The North Italian word articiocco comes through the Spanish, from the Arabic Al-Kharshuf.
False etymology has corrupted the word in many languages: it has been derived (though wrongly) in English from 'choke' and 'heart,' or the Latin hortus, a garden, and in French, the form artichaut has been connected with chaud, hot, and chou, a cabbage.


Beauty, food and windshield

However you like it, it is a very beautiful and easily grown plant. It is enough to forget a small piece of the root in the soil in autumn, and you have a new plant in the spring. One can say that the only way to get rid of the artichoke is to move to another place.
There are several varieties, of which the most important are the late (or never) flowering, and the early flowering which flower in august -september. There are also different types of tuber foms. Some are quite smooth and easy to peel.

 

 

The artichoke, as high as the hedge The tubers grow best in late autumn, why it is best to let the stay in the ground as long as possible, at least until the leaves have wilted. The tubers are hardy and will keep well in the ground throughout the winter, but in hard frost, they are nearly impossible to dig out. A layer of straw will prevent this problem.
If you harvest the tubers, they will easily dry and become soft. The best way to keep them is in moist sand, the same way as carrots.

 

Artichoke plantsIf you just take the tubers you need and leave the rest in the ground, you will soon have a thick hedge of artichokes!

 

Artichoke plants This variety flowers in august -september with flowers that shows its kinship with sunflowers.

 

One Artichoke flowerThey can also be cut and taken in as ornamentals. The bees like them too.

 

Time to harvestIn the late autumn, the artichoke tubers grow at best, but as the frost has made all the leaves wither, you can start harvesting them. The best is to let them stay in the soil until needed, but if you expect hard frost, you can take up some of them and put them into a box of sand in the cellar.
You can also cut the stalks and put a thick layer of straw over the plants, so you can go on harvesting in the winter.

 

Lots of tubesIt use to be plenty of tubers on each plant. The tubers under two-three plants are often enough for a dinner.

 

The harvestThe tubers are very uneven and soily. The first thing to do is to carefully rub off all the soil and rinze them in water.

 

Boiling artichokesIf you try to peel them like potatoes, you usually end up with very little. After the cleaning, you boil them until they are soft.

 

Mash themWhen they are soft, you mash them in a sieve (or in a trough for apple mashing), so the soft flesh will pass into the underlying bowl.

 

Making soupAfter that, you put the mash back into the rinsed pan. Put in some of the broth from the cooking into it and warm it up again.

 

Artichoke soupWhen warm, you put in a large spoonful of créme fraiche (or cream, or milk), some salt, pepper and minced nutmeg, and stir.

 

Artichoke soup for dinnerIn this way, you get a very good soup/purée (depending on the amount of liquid).
It suits very well for an autumn dinner or lunch. N.B. The stored carbohydrate of the artichoke is inulin, which differs from the starch of the potato. If you are not used to it, your stomach will rumble. The only thing you an do about that is to eat artichokes or black salsify more often.

 

Next yearNext year, all the tubers left, and all small pieces of roots that you didn't find last year, will grow up and create a hedge of new plants. If you don't like it to be so, you have to be very careful when you harvest them. The only sure way to get rid of artichokes, is to move avay from them.