Originally posted 14 May 2013, reposted 21 April 2014
This photo is of our Jerusalem Artichokes last year in the field, which turned out to be a very nice hedge at the side of our salad mix patch. If you've never used them before, you're in for a treat and something really truly different. They are, as they look, in the sunflower family, and they have a fantastic crunch and a nutty sunflower flavour. You can, but need not peel them, just scrub them to get the dirt off (which should come as a relief as most of them are pretty gnarly!).
In my previous job in Calgary, I often recommended Sunchokes as an alternative to potatoes for those watching their blood sugar levels or on restrictive diets or clenses. Sunchokes contain the carbohydrate inulin instead of starch, which is a type of dietary fibre known as fructan that the human body has a limited ability to process. Unlike potatoes-- which are considered high on the glycemic index-- the inulin in sunchokes does not cause an insulin response in the body or raise triglycerides (Of course, please do your own research to see if it is right for you if you are on a restricted diet).
Regardless of all this, they are delicious little nuggets and I hope you find a way to enjoy them! The first time I had them I over-roasted them, which was a big mistake: They get bitter and have a soggy textured when overcooked. Once I was ready to attempt cooking them again I used a recipe and had much better luck. I have heard that they can be hard to digest for some, who recommend fully cooking them (like in the soup recipe below). I am including a recipe that is basically how I most often prepare them, as well as links to a few others that I think look interesting:
RECIPE: Sauteed Sunchokes Ingredients:
1 lb sunchokes/jerusalem artichoke
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Scrub or peel artichokes.
2 Slice each artichoke to 1/4 inch thick slices.
3 In a Wok or frying pan, heat olive oil and butter on medium-high heat.
4 Add sliced artichokes, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley; stir well to coat artichokes.
5 Stir-fry for about 4 minutes, stirring often.
6 Do not overcook artichokes, they should be slightly crunchy.
7 Serve immediately.
We visited our friends Alyson and Will at Windy Hill Farm in New Brunswick on the weekend... They have a 20-week CSA and so I looked through some of her newsletters for some recipes to share with you this week, here's a couple for celeriac, coming in this week's veggie share:
Celeriac and Apple Soup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled celeriac
3 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled cored apples (from about 2 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
4 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped chives
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
Pinch of salt
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon) or bacon
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add celeriac, apples, and onion. Cook until apples and some of celeriac are translucent (do not brown), stirring often, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups broth. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer covered until celeriac and apples are soft, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency. Return soup to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated.
Puree chives, grapeseed oil, and pinch of salt in blender until smooth.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange pancetta or bacon slices in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until browned and crispy, about 18 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Crumble pancetta. DO AHEAD: Chive oil and pancetta can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Rewarm soup over medium heat. Divide soup among bowls. Sprinkle pancetta or bacon crumbles over each serving. Drizzle each bowl with chive oil.
Celeriac and Potato Mash
2 lbs celeriac, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces (about 4 ½ cups)
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾ inch pieces (about 4 ½ cups)
4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
¼ cream or milk
Paprika for garnish (optional)
Place celeriac, potatoes and pinch of salt in a pot and barely cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer till vegetables are fork-tender (15-20 minutes). Drain, reserving one cup of the water. Return vegetables to pot and leave on medium heat for 1-2 minutes to dry them a bit. Remove pot from heat and add butter. Mash with potato masher, adding cream (milk) and as much of the reserved cooking water as you need to obtain a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with paprika to garnish.
Spring has officially sprung at the farm. As we look ahead to more agreeable weather, we invite you to check out our farm stay possibilities. The Swallow's Nest and Walden Camp offer two very different getaway experiences. The Swallow's Nest is our more popular destination, with every comfort you can imagine. It can accommodate up to 8 people, as well as the family pet. Walden Camp offers a more rugged experience, for a couple or small group. Both have very private settings.
Booking information is available on our website, www.taprootfarms.ca which includes a vacancy calendar, rates and lots of information about the properties. We encourage anyone interested to check out the calendar and consider booking early. CSA members receive a discount on accommodation, and staff are never far away to help with any of your needs while staying at TapRoot Farms.
There is so much to see and do in this beautiful Annapolis Valley. Make us your home
away from home while vacationing.
This time of year the little things that are greening up make a big difference. The tiniest corner of green on a mini fiddle head that's just emerging makes me oooh and aaaah.
One of the projects I am tending to this season is the herbs and horticultural gardens. These are mainly perennials; plants that come back year after year. They all fall into one of the following categories: wild, edible, for teas or just for looks.
This afternoon, cleaning up the remains of winter over at Swallows Nest I did some scavenging. We are lucky, this farm has had a history of being nurtured for biodiversity. Even vigorous introduced species like stinging nettle, which has quite a presence on the farm, has really special value because of its powerful healing uses for humans.
You'll soon see the nettle in the CSA shares and down at the Seaport Farmer's Market at the Noggins stall. While it looks pretty sweet and harmless in this picture, within a week it'll have a very visible presence all over the farm. I love nettle, and drink the tea almost daily, because it is high in iron as well as protein. As a physically active woman, I think it's pretty important to keep the minerals coming in, and so I dry whatever I can't use when it is fresh and drink it during the winter months as well. I put it in a paper bag and hang it from the ceiling, where it's hotter and out of the way.
Sweet Cicely has just popped up this week as well. This anise scented green is a lovely addition to herbal lemonades and teas. I don't bother drying it as it loses most of its smell, but I do love it in combo with lemony flavours.
The best part of my treasure hunt was the buzz of activity around the Siberian Squill. I keep hearing that pollinators are struggling to survive these days, well, I think they have ALL found sanctuary at Swallows Nest. The trick with checking out cool little plant happenings is keeping your feet off them. I definitely took out a few Squill today in my hunt for the perfect picture. Next time you're down at the farm, take some time to wander and admire variety of plants and critters that make this place their home...or at least their take-out.
CSA members really make a day wonderful! On Saturday we had a one hour tour around the farm at 2 PM. The best part of Saturday's tour for me, no offense adults, was the kids. The kids were excited and running and playing and talking and asking questions and exploring. Here are a few pictures of our time together.
This little one is a twin. She and her twin + parents arrived via bike wagon from Canning. Her little eyes were darting all around taking it all in.
Steve was harvesting Jerusalem Artichokes when we came along. Josh got down to dig some up for us to see. They are in this weeks share. These ones we planted in rows to see how the size and quality would turn out. They turned out really well compared to previous years in terms of size. I haven't tried one yet so we will have to see how the flavour goes. Let us know what you think:))
We did a walk through the greenhouse. Tomatoes are popping up, lettuce and many other veggies. Flowers are coming along nicely. The whole space is full. The heat and the moisture feel great.
Some of the kids love the tractors...even if they don't work so well:)
Kingsley and Bolo are getting the door put onto the tunnel that Jon seeded on Friday.
Here we are...viewing where in a few weeks there will be green....beet greens, radish, mixed greens.....yummy! Same tunnel as above. Kingsley and Bolo came along after we left.
Walking past the Swallows Nest Farm Stay and the pigs who were finding some green to nibble on.
Thanks for coming. It is great to meet you and talk with you and share with you the farm and all it provides for us.