Botanical Name: Stachys affinis
Some other names: crosne, chorogi, knotroot
How to grow it: Chinese artichoke is a low growing perennial that will sprawl over a large area if allowed. It has a lush green foliage that dies back in winter at which time the harvest is ready.
Will survive in full sun, but prefers a moist, shady position. Loose soil would be an advantage, but they seem to crop pretty well in all types of soils. Copes well with drought, but produces better with a regular water supply.
Think carefully about where you will plant it as it can easily overrun an area & spread way further than what you might imagine. It can then be quite hard to control. I’ve learnt this lesson the hard way & now put them in contained areas only.
Can be propogated at any time of the year by root cuttings, but the best time would be early spring – ensuring a full growing season for the following winter’s crop. Any piece of root seems to grow.
Chinese artichoke is an ideal plant for pots and will reward you well each season.
Using it in the kitchen:
Chinese artichokes have a mild nutty flavour and are more notable for their appearance & crunchy texture. Quite a novelty for guests!
All that needs to be done is remove the dirt which can be done quite effectively with an old toothbrush. No need to peel them.
Once cleaned they can be eaten fresh in salads, or served as a vegetable “dipper” for dips.
I also like to add them to soups, stir fries, casseroles & curries – for their texture as much as anything..
Chinese artichokes are a great survival food for the hardiness of the plant and the novelty of harvest – not so much the nutrition.