One of the easiest vegetables to grow is the Jerusalem Artichoke or Sunchoke. It’s basically a perennial weed related to the sunflower with yummy roots. Naturally disease and pest resistant, it will continue to grow (and spread) in the same spot for years, so be careful where you plant. This is a good candidate for container gardening, or between a driveway and a fence. Definitely somewhere confined.
To plant, buy starts or a few roots from a farmer’s market or specialty grocery store. Plant 6″ apart about 2″ deep in good soil, water and enjoy.
To harvest, dig around the edges of the garden whenever you want some, or pull up the entire plant when it dies off in the fall. One planted tuber can yield up to five pounds of sunchokes.
Jerusalem artichokes have often been compared to potatoes in flavor, but in my opinion, they taste more like artichoke hearts, especially when prepared by steaming, then dipped in garlicky butter like an artichoke. I suspect that’s where it got its name. The best part about eating a sunchoke is not having to get through all those leaves before savoring the prized heart of an artichoke.
They’re also a good candidate for roasting. Don’t eat too many at once, though, as they do act as a “digestive aid”, resulting in stomach cramps and diarrhea when eaten en masse. I’m telling you this from experience – we once ate an entire harvest in one sitting, relishing in the ease of eating “artichoke hearts” without having to get past the gauntlet of leaves and choke. It was a very long time before we could bring ourselves to eat them again.