When I moved to the boondocks thirteen years ago, these tall, green, sunflower-like plants were coming up near the former owner’s compost area. I started using that compost station right away and the Jerusalem Artichoke forest has continued to thrive, and at times, threatened to completely take over the entire yard.
In the fall, after the bright yellow flowers are crumpling away and the green stalks and leaves start to brown, you can pull the tall plants right out of the ground to find the many whitish tubers hiding in the earth. They can be cleaned and dried a bit, as you would a fresh potato, and eaten raw or cooked. We roasted them in the oven at 350° for about 30 minutes tossed in olive oil, minced garlic and thyme. They were delicious, a little sweeter than a regular potato and somehow earthier-tasting.
I was surprised to discover their many nutritional values: An excellent source of carbohydrates, Jerusalem Artichokes are very high in iron, with zero fat and numerous other vitamins and minerals like calcium, thiamin and potassium. This high fiber wild food also has antioxidant Vitamins C and E and is a great source of plant protein.
Above, the image shows Jerusalem Artichoke after they have died down in autumn and are ready to be harvested.