Jerusalem Artichoke


If you are planning on planting the JA this Fall this is the time of year to do so.

Presentation will cover seed tuber sales to new growers, off season alcohol production at winery facilities , JA flour processing , non GMO crystalline fructose production , inulin extraction , non GMO feed silage  and of course , ethanol processing , BIO Methane production and non GMO DDGs for animal feeds. As most orchards have drip irrigation  the tuber  harvests will be higher than usual . JA production is so abundant that even 10 acres could provide a living.

I have received the paperwork for the USA  Renewable Fuel Standards , RFS2 ,  to have the crop declared as an Advanced Bio-fuel  Crop. Sweet Sorghum  was recently given that status in the US and will be replacing corn and grains crops  now used for ethanol processing. Many ethanol plants have been shuttered in the US because of drought conditions  and the high cost of corn. I see the time when Greenfield and other Canadian ethanol producers will need alternative Canadian grown biomass crops to replace corn and grains.  Jerusalem artichoke crops , carbohydrate biomass , will have its place in the sun…   Larry Whetstone.

Jerusalem artichokes are native to the central regions of North America. The plant is technically an evergreen perennial, but cultivated as annual crop. Once established, it grows vigorously with multiple branches, reaching about 5-10 feet height, slightly taller than sunflower plant, and bears many golden-yellow color flower heads at the terminal end of branches.

The plant bears numerous starchy edible rhizomes firmly attached to stem below the ground surface. The tubers feature grey, purple, or pink color skin externally and sweet delicate textured ice-white flesh inside. Some roots have quite bumpy and extremely knobby surface making them cleaning a tougher task. Each tuber weighs about 75 to 200 g.


Health benefits of Jerusalem artichoke

  • Jerusalem artichoke is moderately high in calories; provides about 73 calories per 100 g, roughly equivalent to that of potatoes. The root has negligible amounts of fat and contains zero cholesterol. Nevertheless, it’s high-quality phyto-nutrition profile comprises of dietary fiber (non-starch carbohydrates), and antioxidants, in addition to small proportions of minerals, and vitamins.
  • It is one of the finest source dietary fibers, especially high in oligo-fructose inulin, which is a soluble non-starch polysaccharide. Inulin should not be confused for insulin, which is a hormone. The root flesh provides 1.6 mg or 4% of fiber. Inulin is a zero calorie, saccharine, and inert carbohydrate, which does not metabolize inside the human body, and thereby; make this tuber an ideal sweetener for diabetics and dieters.
  • Soluble as well as insoluble fibers in it add up to the bulk of food by retaining moisture in the gut. Studies suggest that adequate roughage in the diet help reduce constipation problem, and offer some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.
  • The tuber contains small amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E. These vitamins together with flavonoid compound like carotenes helps scavenge harmful free radicals, and thereby offers protection from cancers, inflammation and viral cough and cold.
  • Further, Jerusalem artichokes are a very good source of minerals and electrolytes, especially potassium,iron, and copper. 100 g of fresh root contains 429 mg or 9% of daily-required levels of potassium. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte; aids reduce blood pressure and heart rates by countering pressing effects of sodium.
  • 100 g of fresh sunchoke contains 3.4 mg or 42.5% of iron, probably the highest amount of iron among the common edible roots and tubers.
  • It also contains small levels of some of valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamin.Have you ever wanted the joyful flavour of potatoes without the guilt? The solution is sunchokes!Also called Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are a root vegetable with a tough dark skin, white and starchy-tasting inside and a flavour that closely matches potato. Sunchokes are superstars when it comes to intestinal health. These little roots are packed with inulin, a non-digestible dietary fibre with strong prebiotic properties. Inulin contains fructans, which are food for beneficial bacteria in the gut. By feeding the good intestinal soldiers, it’s possible to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Sunchokes also play a role in the prevention of colon cancer. Studies show that the byproducts created during the fermentation process of the dietary fibre inulin, suppress and block cancerous tumour cell growth in the colon.



Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), Fresh, raw,
Nutrition Value per 100 g,
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 73 Kcal 3.7%
Carbohydrates 17.44 g 13%
Protein 2 g 4%
Total Fat 0.01 g <1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g 4%
Folates 13 µg 3%
Niacin 1.3 mg 8%
Pantothenic acid 0.397 mg 8%
Pyridoxine 0.077 mg 6%
Riboflavin 0.060 mg 4.5%
Thiamin 0.200 mg 17%
Vitamin A 20 IU <1%
Vitamin C 4 mg 7%
Vitamin E 0.19 mg 1%
Vitamin K 0.1 µg <1%
Sodium 4 mg <1%
Potassium 429 mg 9%
Calcium 14 mg 1.4%
Copper 0.140 mg 15%
Iron 3.40 mg 42.5%
Magnesium 17 mg 4%
Manganese 0.060 mg 2%
Selenium 0.7 µg 1%
Zinc 0.12 mg 1%
Carotene-ß 12 µg
Carotene-α 0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 0 µg

Selection and storage

Cleaned sunchokes.
Photo courtesy: mlinksva

Sunchokes are commonly found in the US markets year-round. Fresh farm harvest hit the markets from October and last until winter and spring seasons. In the stores, buy smooth surfaced tubers as they pose less difficulty in the preparation. Look for average sized, clean, firm tubers. Avoid any sprouted, diseased, bruised roots.

Once at home, they should be stored in the refrigerator set at 33 to 35 degree F, and at very high relative humidity.


Preparation and serving methods

Wash the tubers thoroughly in cold water with gentle scrub. Although peel is fine to eat, it is generally discarded using a vegetable-peeler. The root artichokes are high in iron contents, and cut ends turn brown soon on exposure to air, as in apples. To prevent this, drop cut pieces into a bowl of cold acidulated water

Jerusalem artichokes are very versatile vegetables. The tubers can be used in various ways in cooking. They can be eaten raw like parsnips in salads, or boiled and mashed, roasted, or sautéed like potato. Do not overcook, as they turn soft and mushy rather quickly.

Here are five more reasons to fall in love with sunchokes:

1. Sunchokes can help to lower blood pressure. High levels of inulin bypasses digestion and reaches the lower gut to feed the good bacteria that resides there. Studies show that feeding the indigenous micro flora and warding off bad bacteria is an important part of the treatment and prevention of hypertension.

2. Sunchokes are high in potassium. A one cup serving of sunchokes contains 643 mg of potassium, which is essential for overall health and can help to reduce heart disease. Increasing your dietary potassium, in addition to reducing excess sodium, is especially beneficial for people at risk for high blood pressure.

3. Eating sunchokes can decrease blood cholesterol. Along with normalizing blood triglyceride levels, these small vegetables affect the way that the body metabolizes fats thanks to their high levels of probiotics.

4. One cup of sunchokes provides you with a quarter of your daily ironYou would have to eat three ounces of red

meat to get the same amount of iron. The sunchoke is a great way to increase your iron intake especially since it has no fat and only 109 calories per cup. Iron is an essential component of the proteins involved in the delivery of oxygen to each and every cell in your body. A deficiency of iron limits the delivery of oxygen to the cells resulting in fatigue and decreased immunity.

5. Sunchokes are high in protein. Not only does this wonderful root contain more protein than most other root vegetables, it’s particularly high in the sulfur-containingessential amino acids taurine, methionine, homocysteine and cysteine. These sulfur-containing amino acids are essential for maintaining the flexibility of connective tissue as well as allowing the liver carry out detoxification. Try this homemade stew to add these healthy benefits of sunchokes to your life.

source :


Includes Recipe Below


When a favored member of the vegetable family sports a name that has no connection to its origin or genus, it makes one just a little curious. How did the Jerusalem artichoke earn its name? We know it didn’t come from Jerusalem, but where did it come from? Was it brought to Jerusalem by some famous explorer? Does this plant have a religious connection to Jerusalem? How is its name connected to the artichoke family? Our private investigators tracked down all of these leads and came up with some fascinating chronicles about the Jerusalem artichoke, also called sunchoke.

The Jerusalem artichoke has no relatives in the artichoke family but is actually a member of the sunflower family. A native of North America, it grew in the wild along the eastern seaboard from Georgia to Nova Scotia. The explorer Samuel de Champlain first encountered sunchokes growing in an American Indian vegetable garden in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 1605. In his opinion they tasted like artichokes, a name that he carried back to France. The American Indians called them sun roots and introduced these perennial tubers to the pilgrims who adopted them as a staple food.

Our detectives continued their search. Apparently the French began growing these tubers successfully because they were sold by Parisian street vendors who named them topinambours, the French word for tuber. Six Brazillian Indians from the Topinambours tribe were brought back to the curious French in 1613 after an expedition, and the street hawkers adopted this name for their prized tubers from the Americas.

There is a record of Champlain sending some of the tubers to his native France after tasting them a second time in Canada. It’s very likely he sent them home from Massachusetts, too, because a book called Histoire de la Nouvelle France ,published in 1609, makes mention of this vegetable before Champlain’s exploration in Canada.

Our sleuths have surmised that when Jerusalem artichokes arrived in Italy sometime before 1633, the Italian word for sunflower, “girasole” which means “turning to the sun,” was somehow later corrupted into the word “Jerusalem.” This corruption combined with Champlain’s likening the taste of the vegetable to an artichoke brings our mystery to a close.

Jerusalem artichokes made their way across Europe, reaching England in 1617 and Germany by 1632. An early edition of the Oxford English Dictionary mentioned “Artichocks of Jerusalem” in 1620.

As in all trends, there is a rise in popularity, and then a fall into obscurity. France readily accepted the Jerusalem artichoke in the early 1600s, possibly because of the name artichoke. The potato, on the other hand, was regarded with suspicion and rejected. When the potato was finally accepted, the Jerusalem artichoke fell into rejection because people thought it caused leprosy. This belief was attributed to the irregular shape and brown mottled skin that resembled the deformed fingers of those with leprosy.

In times of desperation, the Jerusalem artichoke became sustenance. It was during a famine that occurred throughout Europe in 1772 that the Jerusalem artichoke could be quickly and easily grown to provide nourishment. During World War II the tubers regained some recognition in several countries because they were a food that could be bought without a ration card. The explorers Lewis and Clark were fortified by Jerusalem artichokes during a time when it was difficult to find ample food on their expedition.

The Jerusalem artichoke is a tuber that grows underground like the potato but is harder to harvest because the tubers cling to the roots and become entwined. Cultivated varieties of sunchokes grow in clumps close to the main root or rhizome while wild ones grow at the end of root. Like their family members of sunflowers, they can grow from 3 to 12 feet high with large leaves and flowers that are 1 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. They grow well in almost all soil with the exception of very heavy clay soil, but do best in alkaline soil.

Sunchokes are easy to grow from tubers that weigh about 2 oz. and have 2 or 3 sprouts emerging. Plant them deep, about 3 to 4 inches underground. They do best when planted in little hills for better water retention and to make harvesting easier. Plant them in the spring through early summer, and harvest them fall through early winter. Be aware that any tubers left in the ground that were not harvested will reseed themselves. Many farmers are reluctant to go into heavy production of the sunchokes because of their ability to take over and become a serious weed problem.

Sunchokes are often called a starchy plant, but the starch is in the form of inulin, a polysaccharide from which fructose can be produced. Because this starch, or inulin, is not easily digestible by everyone, it may be best to introduce the vegetable in small amounts. John Goodyer, one of England’s pioneer planters of the early 1600’s wrote,

“But in my judgement, which way soever they be drest and eaten they stir up and cause a filthie loathesome stinking winde with the bodie, thereby causing the belly to bee much pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine, than men.”

We find their delicate sweetness and nutty flavor so refreshing we include them in our repertoire of vegetables regularly. They have a crispness that resembles water chestnuts and can even stand in for water chestnuts in salads and stir fries.

Nutritionally, the sunchoke’s most outstanding benefits lie in the 327 mg. of potassium for a half-cup serving. That same half-cup serving has 57 calories, 1.5. gr. protein, 1.2 gr. fiber, 10.5 mg. calcium, 10 mcg. folacin along with smaller amounts of niacin and thiamine.

SHOPPING: Jerusalem artichokes are usually packaged in plastic and found in the produce department of most supermarkets. Since they are not in great demand, it’s important to examine them carefully. Fresh vegetables look plump and vibrant. Inspect carefully to avoid those that have a greenish tinge. Make sure they are not sprouting, or are shriveled or moldy.

SunchokeSTORAGE: Keep the tubers wrapped in plastic and refrigerate. They will keep up to two weeks, but it’s always best eat them as fresh as possible for the best flavor and nutrition. Their sweetness is known to increase when refrigerated after harvesting. If you grow your own, refrigerate them for a day or two before consuming.

PREPARATION: Scrub the sunchokes clean with a vegetable brush. Since much of their nutrients are stored just under the skin, it’s best not to peel them. Once cut, sunchokes discolor quickly, so it’s best to cut them close to serving time, or cut and immerse them in water with lemon or vinegar to prevent oxidation. Cooking them with the skins on may cause a darkening of the skins because of their high iron content.

Slice sunchokes and enjoy the crunch they add to your salad.
Slice and serve them along with crudites and dips.
Shred them into a slaw. Dice them into a chopped salad.
Slice, dice, or shred and marinate in a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice or rice vinegar
Coarsely chop sunchokes and add to the blender when preparing raw soups.

STIR FRY: Slice, dice, or shred and stir fry along with other fresh vegetables in a little extra virgin olive oil. They will become softened in about 4 to 6 minutes. For a tender crisp texture, stir fry about 2 to 4 minutes.

BAKED: Sunchokes can be baked whole or sliced. Toss them in a bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Set the oven temperature at 375 and bake 30 to 45 minutes for whole, and 20 to 25 minutes for sliced, turning them half way through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

STEAMED: Coarsely chop the Jerusalem artichokes and put them into a steamer basket. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue at high heat and steam for 5 to 8 minutes. Test for softness. Remove and season to taste or mash like potatoes.

BOILED: Sunchokes can be boiled whole or cut as desired. Bring a covered saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add sunchokes and boil for 10 to 15 minutes for whole, and 5 to 8 minutes for cut up. Season as desired or mash like potatoes.

As you can see, Jerusalem artichokes can be enjoyed with any meal, adding a special taste and texture to the palate. Below is a recipe that is as unique as the plant itself:


Raw sunchokes, sometimes called Jerusalem artichokes, are spotlighted as the featured ingredient in this unique sandwich. Crunchy pecans and a smooth creamy avocado sauce pair up in supporting roles. Serve the sandwich with a salad and fruit for a tasty light meal.

Sunchoke Pecan Sandwich is one of the delicious recipes in Zel Allen’s cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.

Yield: 3 to 4 sandwiches


1 ripe avocado 


1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 


1/4 teaspoon salt 


Dash cayenne 


1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 120 ml) organic canola oil

2 cups (480 ml) coarsely shredded sunchokes
1/2 cup (120 ml) raw or toasted pecans, coarsely chopped or coarsely ground
1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

6 to 8 slices whole grain bread
12 to 16 large basil leaves
3 ripe tomatoes, sliced
3 to 4 butter lettuce leaves


  1. To make the avocado sauce, wash the avocado, cut it in half, scoop out the flesh, and place it in the blender. Add the lemon juice, salt, and cayenne and blend briefly. With the machine running, slowly add the canola oil, using just enough to create a thick, creamy sauce. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender jar and stir the mixture.
  2. To make the sunchoke filling, combine the sunchokes, pecans, and red bell pepper in a medium bowl. Add enough of the avocado sauce to moisten and hold the mixture together. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  3. Spread a thin coating of the avocado sauce over one side of each of the bread slices. Spread the sunchoke mixture over half the bread slices and top with the basil leaves, tomato slices, and lettuce. Place the remaining bread slices over the filling and cut the sandwiches in half.
Biodiesel breaking point
Report says increased mandate for fuel in U.S. will impact already tight vegetable oil supplies, Sept. 18, 2012
by Susan Reidy

With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) planning to mandate the use of 1.28 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel in 2013, use of vegetable oils is expected to skyrocket, increasing competition among end users.

Because commercial production of cellulose ethanol has yet to materialize, biomass-based diesel has to provide a larger percentage of the advanced fuels mandate, Rabobank said in a report released in May. About 96% of the biomass-based diesel is biodiesel, which is mostly made from vegetable oil feedstocks.

U.S. soy oil use in the 2011-12 crop year is estimated at 4 billion pounds, an increase from the 2.55 billion pounds used in 2010-11. Soy oil use for biodiesel is increasing in other regions including South America and Europe, Rabobank said. Additionally, increasing demand for processed food in developing nations is increasing demand for vegetable oils.

This comes at a time when world vegetable oil stocks-to-use ratio is at its lowest level in the last 40 years. U.S. corn acres are expected to increase 4% this year, but the soybean planted area is expected to drop 1%, further tightening world supplies, Rabobank said.

“There simply is not enough vegetable oil in the world to feed the U.S. advanced biofuels mandate,” Rabobank said in its report. “Something’s got to give.”

Growing production

U.S. biodiesel production has increased dramatically in the last several years but has fluctuated with changing tax policies. The $1-per-gallon tax credit, first enacted in 2004, spurred production. When it lapsed at the end of 2009, production plummeted to about 300 million gallons.

With the tax credit reinstated in 2011, production jumped to a record 1.1 billion gallons, 300 million gallons higher than the mandated 800 million gallons. Production through May of this year has reached 445.9 million gallons, according to the EPA.

Capacity will not constrain production, Rabobank said, since the industry has had idle capacity for years. Total capacity in the U.S. is estimated at 2.9 billion gallons.

Feedstock availability will be the most important issue for future biodiesel production, according to the report. A mandate of 1.28 billion gallons of fuel will require an oil input of 9.73 billion pounds, assuming use of 7.6 pounds per gallon. That amounts to a 1.4-billion-pound increase from 2011 levels.

The EPA breaks down the total oil requirement by type with virgin vegetable oil providing 47%, or 4.56 billion pounds; yellow grease and rendered fats providing 30% or 2.888 billion pounds; and corn oil (mostly from ethanol) providing 23% or 2.28 billion pounds.

The breakdown is in line with historical averages, Rabobank said, but the report noted that the history of biodiesel production is relatively short and 1.28 billion gallons of fuel represents a significant increase over average production in the last several years.

“The volume increases required from each individual feedstock in future years will inevitably cause dislocations affecting other consumers of oils and fats,” the report said.

Oil impact

U.S. biodiesel producers are demanding more soy oil at a time when crush margins are falling. Distillers grains production that is replacing soy meal, a gain in market share by Argentina, China’s demand for unprocessed soybean imports and over-capacity have hurt crush margins, Rabobank said. Three U.S. soy crush plants have shut down since 2010.

According to a U.S. EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) analysis, increased soy oil use for biodiesel will be offset by reduced exports. Rabobank said. However, the magnitude of the shift will tighten global vegetable oil balance sheets that are already at their lowest levels since 1976-77.

“To increase production, the biodiesel industry will have to compete with growing emerging market countries for soy oil,” Rabobank said in its report.

To meet increasing soy oil demands, there is little that can be done on the supply side. With the exception of one region in Brazil, there are few other areas to increase soybean acreage, the report said. While there is excess crush capacity in the U.S. and China, increasing the crush will exacerbate the glut in protein meal created by distillers grains, Rabobank said.

Canola could be one source of relief for increasing vegetable oil demand. Increased end-user demand and favorable economics have led to record canola production in Canada. The USDA estimates the 2011-12 crop at 14.165 million tonnes, an increase of 182% over 2001-02.

Oil yields are higher from canola at between 42% and 44%, compared to soy at 19%. Thus, incremental production increases add more to the oil supply than incremental increases of soy production. This could push U.S. wheat growers toward a canola rotation.

Canola is approved by the EPA as a feedstock for biodiesel, but because of its higher price compared to soy, it is not a biodiesel producer’s first choice, Rabobank said.

Corn oil, extracted by dry mill ethanol producers, will be another source of oil for biodiesel. Rabobank said U.S. dry mills are now producing 1 billion pounds of corn oil, a rate that could increase to 2.2 billion pounds by 2013. At that amount, corn oil could account for 280 million gallons of biodiesel production.

It’s uncertain what rate of corn oil extraction producers will want in order to maximize profit from both distiller’s grains and the corn oil, the report said. Currently, de-oiled distiller’s grains are not selling at a significantly discounted price and corn oil is selling at a discount of 10¢ per pound to edible corn oil.

Another feedstock option are rendered fats, produced at a rate of about 10 billion pounds per year. Roughly 20% to 30% of biodiesel is made from rendered fats and oils. However, unlike other feedstocks, rendered fats cannot be increased in response to increasing demand for biodiesel.

Rendering production volumes are driven by animal protein production, which has been on a downward trend since 2006, Rabobank said. Biodiesel producers will have to compete with other end users such as the pet food and livestock industries, if it wants to increase the use of rendered fats.

“Use of rendered fats and oils in biodiesel is complicated by the fact rendered products have a higher cloud point than soy, corn or canola oils, meaning that it does not flow as well at cold temperatures,” Rabobank said. “Players in the rendering industry say that biodiesel is unlikely to be maintained at greater than 30% of production for an extended period of time, while the U.S. EPA places the figure at 50%.”


Finding feedstock to produce 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel will be tricky. With 95% of dry mill ethanol plants implementing corn extraction, that market will tap out at 300 million gallons of biodiesel production. The rendering industry estimates it will only supply about 400 million gallons of biodiesel production. The remainder will have to be derived primarily from soy oil, Rabobank said.

Other possibilities including canola oil, but its price premium to soy oil is a limiting factor. Palm oil can be a biodiesel feedstock, but the EPA has rejected it, eliminating it from the renewable fuels program.

Increased biodiesel production will absorb an incremental 635,000 tonnes of vegetable oil supply from 2011 to 2013. At the same time, global overall vegetable oil supply and demand are growing at around 5 million tonnes per year. Rabobank concludes there is not enough vegetable oil to supply the growing biodiesel production mandate.


BioMethane from Jerusalem Artichoke Tops

JA as Crop of the Future Country Life AdFree 02 13

Here is a link to JA harvester video

If you wish to be growing this crop I can arrange seed to come to you.