Chinese Artichoke Plant Info – How To Grow Chinese Artichokes
The Chinese artichoke plant yields a little tuber popular inAsian cuisine. Outside of Asia where it is often found pickled, Chineseartichoke plants are rarities. Imported into France, the plant more often goesby the name Crosne, named after the French village it was initially cultivatedin.
Today, crosnes (or chorogi) can be found in specialtygourmet shops and high-end restaurants with a price to match, but you can alsogrow your own. Read on to learn how to grow and when to harvest Chineseartichokes.
What are Chinese Artichokes?
The Chinese artichoke plant (Stachys affinis) is aperennial root vegetable found in the mint family. Like mintplants, Chinese artichoke have a propensity to grow wantonly and can easilyovertake a garden area.
They have foliage that looks much akin to the leaves of spearminton low growing plants hardy to zone 5. Used both as a culinary herb andmedicinal plant, most Chinese artichoke growing is done for the delicioustubers, which can be eaten fresh or cooked and have a nutty flavor similar to waterchestnut or jicama.
In mid- to late summer, the tiny plants are decorated withlovely pink to mauve flower spikes.
How to Grow Chinese Artichokes
Chinese artichoke plants are cultivated for the small tubersthey produce, called crosnes, which have become somewhat of a culinarysensation. These tubers are time consuming to harvest and have a very shortshelf life once dug up, which contributes to their rarity and high price.
Despite their healthy price tag, crosnes have a multitude ofuses. They can be eaten fresh out of hand like a carrot,tossed into salads, or cooked in soups, stir fried, sautéed or steamed.
Luckily, Chinese artichoke growing is a simple matter. Theplants prefer well-draining soil in full sun. The soil should, however, be keptmoist and mulched. Due to its invasive tendencies, plant Chinese artichoke inan area away from other plants. Spring is a good time for planting the tubers.
When to Harvest Chinese Artichoke
Chinese artichoke plants take about 5-7 months to developtubers. They are ready to harvest anytime during the fall and winter when theplant is dormant.
The top growth may be killed back by frost, but the tubersthemselves are quite hardy and can be left underground for later harvest. Liftthe tubers as you would potatoes.It is almost impossible to find all the tubers but any left behind will growthe successive season.
Chinese artichoke growing is extremely simple and, becausethe plant is a perennial, will provide the gardener with years of delicioustubers. Although it can be invasive, at the time of harvest, the plant’s sizecan be retarded by simply pulling it up.
Chinese Artichoke and Other Tuberous Mints
- Chinese artichoke is a tuber crop native to China, Japan, and Korea.
- This crop is easy to grow in the Pacific Northwest and in much of the rest of the US.
- Chinese artichoke tubers are small, reaching about one to two inches in diameter on average.
- Typical yield is about four to six ounces per plant.
- The tubers white and segmented, looking a bit like grubs.
- There are other species of tuberous mints in the genera Lycopus and Stachys.
- Florida betony is a native North American tuber that is larger and higher yielding than Chinese artichoke.
- Marsh woundwort is a widespread species that produces longer, but usually thinner tubers than Chinese artichoke.
- The bugleweeds are related species that typically produce tubers that are larger, but more bitter.
- Chinese artichoke is propagated by planting tubers. Other tuberous mints can also be grown from seeds.
Can everyone eat it?
Serve Chinese artichokes to children fried with other vegetables from the age of 12 months. Children like the slightly sweet flavor of Chinese artichoke, somewhere between artichokes and salsify. They also enjoy its spiral shape.
And everyone else
Although it has been somewhat forgotten by younger people, it is popular with older people. However, new generations have been rediscovering the vegetable since it reappeared on the shelves. Its unusual taste and shape make it an original and popular dish for people of all ages.
About Chinese Artichokes
The botanical name of this vegetable is Stachys affinis, whereas the Jerusalem artichoke is Helianthus tuberosus, and the globe or Italian artichoke is Cynara scolymus. It is also has a number of alternative names including Japanese artichoke, knotroot, crosne and artichoke betony.
These are tuberous rooted perennial plants that are related to the mint family (Lamiaceae) and grow well in similar fertile, well-drained soils that are partially shaded. They form low-growing bushes that tend to sprawl. The leaves look similar to lemon balm (another member of the Lamiaceae family), but unlike lemon balm, they don’t have any aroma.
Perhaps you are familiar with artichoke, which is a thistle prized for it numerous health benefits and strange appearance. Stranger, however, is the vegetable called Chinese artichoke, more commonly known as crosne, betony, knotroot, Japanese artichoke, or chorogi.
What do they taste like and how best to prepare them for a family dinner?
What it looks like
Because the Chinese artichoke is a tuber, it looks similar to ginger but smoother because of the knobs or knots. The tuber is also ivory white in color and look like beads when cleaned. The vegetable is native to China and Japan but it was introduced to the rest of the world at the close of the 1800s.
It is quite expensive when purchased outside China and Japan, but it is cultivated in Europe and is used for a lot of dishes. It takes about a year to develop and can be tricky if you are planning to raise this in your garden.
What does it taste like?
Despite their looks, the Chinese artichoke is crunchy and has a nutty flavor. Some describe it as having a similar flavor to chestnuts. Chinese artichokes can be prepared in various ways by blanching, steaming, sautéing, and pickled. They can also be consumed raw as long as you rinse them under running water.
What are its benefits?
The Chinese artichoke (Stachys affinis) contain fiber, protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, choline, and folate.
What recipes can you make from it?
If you can find one in Singapore markets, you can make simple dishes from it easily.
Chinese Artichokes and Peas
Ingredients: 12 ounces trimmed Chinese artichokes, 4 ounces peas, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, white truffle oil, salt, and ground black pepper
Preparation: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook Chinese artichokes for 2 minutes, then rinse and soak in a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat butter in a pan over medium heat and cook garlic cloves and Chinese artichokes for 2 minutes.
Season with salt then stir in peas. Cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat and add parsley. After 1 minute, add lemon juice and black pepper then top with truffle oil.
Ingredients: 2 pounds rinsed Chinese artichokes, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons sea salt, ½ teaspoon fine salt, 2 tablespoons salted butter, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 lemon, and 2 tablespoons chervil
Preparation: After washing the artichokes, rub sea salt on them and let sit for a few minutes. Prepare a steamer then rinse the artichokes and arrange them on the steamer. Steam while covered for 5 to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan over medium heat and cook garlic until golden. Next, stir in steamed Chinese artichokes are butter. Season with salt and pepper then cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of lemon juice and chervil.