Jerusalem Artichokes. The tubers grow slowly here, so we have two plots, harvesting from each on alternate years, January or early February.
Jonathan has, today, dug up the odd-year plot, close to the East Gate of the walled garden. A good harvest this year – a very full 3-gallon bucket. He rinses the soil off in the garden sink, then passes to me for ‘processing’.
Largest, smoothest tubers are for the kitchen. This year, that looks to be half the total – enough for say eight bowls of soup fresh, and eight more in the freezer. The best of the rest are for J to re-sow for harvesting two yearns hence ; the dross are for the refuse bin.
I trim off the ‘hairy’ roots, trim the tuber of knobbly bits and any cut surface, rinse thoroughly and then use my wonderful Magimix to slice them. The cut surfaces of the tubers oxidize quickly – turning pale brown, and that affects the flavour and nutritional value. It is, therefore, important to keep the sliced tubers covered in watere until just before they go into the pan. Raw and very fresh, the artichokes are sweet and nutty – something like a cross between turnip, radish and kohl rhabi, so J and I snack on the slices as I get on with the next steps :
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 12 Jerusalem artichokes, peeled, chopped
- 100 ml full-fat milk
- Fresh-ground salt and pepper, according to preference
This is for a small batch (very small, for us!). If you’ve got lots of tubers, just scale up.
You’ll no doubt find recipes which include wine, cream instead of milk, chicken stock and very likely much more salt and pepper. But our Jerusalem Artichokes are no more than half an hour old when cooked, and so are still sweet and flavoursome. Tha’s what we want to experience, not the taste of supermarket chicken with a cameo appearance by something from our garden!
It’s better to make a lot of soup, have some fresh, maybe some more in the fridge, and then the remainder in the freezer. It’s not very practical to just dig up what you need when you need it, as there is a lot of mess and duplicated effort that way.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for three minutes until they have softened.
- Add the garlic to the saucepan, stir and cook for one minute.
- Add the artichokes and cook for eight minutes or until the artichoke has softened.
- Place the mixture into the bowl of a foodprocessor. Add the milk and blend the mixture.
We like some ‘bits’ in our soup, so don’t attempt to homogenise it in the blender.
Season to taste with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, serve and – if you wish – add a garnish of fresh seasonal herbs,
Oddly enough, we think the soup tastes a bit like mushroom soup.
We like this soup for lunch – with slices of home-made bread and butter.
J > Oh how pleased I am when D and I agree that the day has arrived to harvest the Jerusalem Artichokes! I’ll be back, tomorrow, with a post about the planting / re-planting of the tubers. Oh, and before I go : Don’t put any waste tubers on your compost heap – unless you do want to turn your entire garden into a Jerusalem Artichoke farm!