Growing Sakhalinski

July 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Sakhalinski, also known as Jerusalem Artichoke, sunchoke, and sunroot, with Latin name Helianthus Tuberosus, is a perennial herb, cultivated as an annual root.

Sakhalinski is native to North America, and long used by Native Americans for food. It has been introduced and become naturalized in all temperate regions in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

It produces tubers on the ends and branches of underground stems or root stocks and midway on the rootstocks. Tubers are knobby, and can be white, red or purple skinned. We grow the white and the red.

Cultivation

Can be cultivated by division of rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets) and seeding in fall or spring (after last frost). Germination can best be done in a damp paper towel, gelatin, or agar.

Maintenance

Soil needs to be between pH 6.1 – 7.8. Requires full sun. Partial shade is okay too. Water regularly, but do not overwater.

Jerusalem artichoke is very susceptible to attack by many fungi and nematodes.

Harvesting

Either a crop of leaves or a crop of tubers can be harvested from a planting, but not both. Harvest entire green tops just before flowering, at which time the tubers are at around half their maximum yield. Tops left undisturbed to get the maximum yield of tubers are of little or no value for forage.

Tubers are difficult to store because of shrinking and vulnerability to bruising. Tubers can be stored from 1 to 3 weeks. They are best left in the soil until needed, because freezing does no damage. Do not harvest from frozen soil. Leave tubers for spring planting in place until spring. Then harvest before they sprout. Avoid using those with wrinkled skins, soft spots, blotched green areas or sprouts. Peeling can be difficult due to the protuberances and is not really necessary. The peels are edible.

Blooms late Summer or early Fall. For gathering seeds, let seed heads dry on the plants before removing and collecting seeds.

Remedies

Is reported to be aperient, aphrodisiac, cholagogue, diuretic, spermatogenic, stomachic, and tonic, and is a folk remedy for diabetes and rheumatism. Since its food reserves are stored in the form of inulin, the tubers can serve as substitutes for potatoes and starches in diabetic diets.

It is a good weed eradicator. It makes a dense shade, and most weeds cannot compete.

Recipes

Cooked tubers should be refrigerated and consumed within 2 days. Canning and freezing is not recommended due to discoloration and deterioration of texture.

We use it to make a nice change from potatoes. It can be used in soups, bread, salads. It can be pickled. And combines well with chicken.

The alcohol fermented from the tubers is said to be of better quality than that from sugar beets.

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