These knobbly tubers appear only in autumn, but here’s a way you can enjoy them year round – preferably with cheese.
I ventured out to the back of our garden last weekend and the Jerusalem artichokes have spread noticeably since last year. They stand erect, a dense army of tall slender stalks now turning brown and dry, a sure sign of their impending harvest. Last year was really the first time in the four years we’ve lived here that I dedicated time to cooking and preserving these creamy-coloured knobbly tubers. I made batches of soup (not exactly relished by the hungry mouths at my table!) and I fermented and pickled them too. The fermented variety were delicious but I have to say I preferred these pickled ones, deliciously crisp and studded with bay, garlic and spices. They’re wonderful on a cheese board or in a toasted sandwich and I often add a forkful of them to a bowl of garden greens which I then top with a boiled egg or two and some shaved parmesan cheese. Do give them a try, they are well worth the effort.
PICKLED JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES
Makes 2 large (700ml) jars
- ¼ cup salt, plus ½ teaspoon extra
- 1 litre water
- 1kg Jerusalem artichokes
- 2 cups vinegar (I used apple cider as I brew it at home but white or malt would be fine too)
- ½ cup water
- 50g sugar
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
Mix the ¼ cup salt with the water in a large bowl. Give the Jerusalem artichokes a good wash – I use the dishwashing brush to do this.
Once washed, slice as thinly as you can then put into the bowl of salty water. Cover with a tea towel or plastic bag and leave overnight. This overnight soak means that once pickled, the Jerusalem artichokes stay crunchy. The next day tip the liquid from the Jerusalem artichokes, rinse and leave in a colander to drain.
Put the vinegar, water, sugar, spices and ½ teaspoon salt into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Give the jars a good wash with hot soapy water then pack the sliced Jerusalem artichokes into the jars, putting a clove of garlic and a bay leaf into each one. Once full, pour in the cooled pickling liquid to 1cm from the top of the jar and screw on the lids.
Put into a saucepan, cover with cold water and a lid, if possible. Bring the water to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly before removing the jars carefully from the saucepan with tongs and leaving to cool on the bench.
These are ready to eat after one month, and can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year.