Stuck for a recipe idea for Jerusalem artichokes?

March 6, 2011

Jerusalem artichokes are a staple item in Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s weekly veg boxes at this time of year.

Unlike late winter brassicas, which are in short supply all over the UK, these knobbly roots seem to thrive in hard, frosty conditions. Our growing team are about to plant a new permanent bed of them to sustain us in future seasons.

Jerusalem artichokes are hardy perennials, related to sunflowers. They have attractive purple flowers and tall summer growth, so we’ll be using them as a windbreak (!) for our soft fruit area.

Camel CSA’s valiant volunteer picking and packing team dig up quantities of them and scrub them clean each week for the boxes – to accompanying groans from some of our members.

So what can you do with these often-neglected vegetables?

My perennial favourite is Jane Grigson’s Palestine Soup, though this is a bit of a misnomer. Veggies should  leave the bacon out.

My family also like Nigel Slater’s casserole of artichokes and pork for deepest winter, which uses sausages. It sounds a bit odd but is a surprisingly good heartwarmer on a cold frosty evening.

The vegetarians among you could try Yotam Ottolenghi’s artichoke and goat’s cheese souffle or Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Roast Jerusalem artichoke, hazelnut and goat’s cheese salad.

So give Jerusalem artichokes a try. They’re flavoursome, versatile, easy to grow, should be local (if you’re living in the UK) and inexpensive.  But be warned – a little goes a long way.

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