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Jerusalem Artichoke - Earthen Pear
Jerusalem Artichoke - Earthen Pear

About tuberous sunflower

Jerusalem artichoke
Jerusalem artichoke

In the 1930s, academician N. I. Vavilov brought from America a tuberous sunflower, or, as it is now called, Jerusalem artichoke (earthen pear). It turned out that this plant in its homeland gave twice the yield than our potatoes.

Those years in our country were lean, and scientists primarily sought to feed the population. Scientists wanted to use Jerusalem artichoke to solve this problem, but encountered difficulties.

It turns out that in our latitudes, Jerusalem artichoke seeds do not ripen, and it cannot be stored, like potatoes, since its tubers have a thin and tender skin. Because of this, the new culture has not been widely spread in our country until now.

As time went on, doctors found a number of the most useful medicinal properties in Jerusalem artichoke, helping against many diseases. And then they remembered the stories of Academician Vavilov, who had visited North America, that the Iroquois Indians never suffered from hunger, did not receive any treatment, nevertheless, the people were not sick, they were healthy and strong. And just recently the Siberian scientist V. N. Zelenkov developed an original technology for processing Jerusalem artichoke into a concentrate and called it "Longevity". They claim that it helps with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, increases immunity, which is very important for regions where the ecological situation is unfavorable.

But we, experienced gardeners, will take a different path. "Longevity" is a medicine, and we would like, like the Iroquois, not only to eat Jerusalem artichoke, but also to heal the body with its help.

About 15 years ago, our group of experienced gardeners worked at the Lensovet Palace of Culture. One of the listeners brought fried Jerusalem artichoke to the annual tasting of the grown products. Everyone liked him. Everyone also decided to try to grow this plant.

So, in our gardening area, there is a plot on which Jerusalem artichoke has been growing for a long time. But it grows like a weed. He is not sick with anything, never froze. This place is shady, Jerusalem artichoke has never been fed or watered, apparently, that's why the tubers are small.

This season I tried to make a salad out of them, like from radishes, but when processed, they quickly oxidize, and the salad looks unsightly, and the taste is very mediocre.

Then I changed the composition of the salad: Jerusalem artichoke, carrot and apple in approximately equal proportions. Dressed with sour cream. Our family settled on this recipe. We did it several times during the season.

But the processing of small tubers (cleaning and grinding) is very laborious.

Unfortunately, there are very few recommendations in the literature for growing this crop. We learned that it needs watering in dry weather, fertile soil with a neutral reaction, hilling in the spring. That's all we found.

The encyclopedic dictionary, edited by B. A. Vvedensky - Moscow, 1955, says: "… Jerusalem artichoke is a perennial plant that develops powerful shoots and root system, forming underground tubers that are used for food, cattle feed and technical processing. Green mass goes for the manufacture of silage … ".

Soviet Encyclopedic Dictionary edited by the Scientific Editorial Council, chairman M. S. Gilyarov - Moscow, 1982, adds to the previous one: "… Jerusalem artichoke is cultivated in limited quantities in the southern regions of the country and in its middle zone, the yield is 200-250 centners per hectare, is used for food, to obtain inulin and for livestock feed …".

I invite the readers of Flora Price magazine to write about their experience of growing Jerusalem artichoke, its use in food and for treatment. We are also waiting for recommendations from scientists.

We are interested in: if you plant Jerusalem artichoke nodules in the spring, will it give marketable tubers by autumn. Or if we plant nodules, for example, in August-September, what kind of root crops will we get in the spring, subject to the scant recommendations given above.

And a little bit of optimism. Let's remember how potatoes were introduced here? In 1570, the Spaniards first brought potatoes to their homeland, which were cultivated by the aborigines of America. In Russia, the potato appeared under Peter I, but it was only under Catherine II that it was really introduced, that is, approximately after 80-100 years. So gardeners still have time to introduce Jerusalem artichoke!