Surprise! Jerusalem artichoke is neither an artichoke nor from Jerusalem. Instead, it’s a member of the sunflower family that is native to North America. Today Jerusalem artichoke is planted in wildflower meadows, native gardens, and other habitats for birds and pollinators. flock to Jerusalem artichoke seed heads, and butterflies visit this plant’s sunny yellow flowers that bloom for weeks in late summer and fall. As a human, you may want to harvest this plant’s edible tubers shortly after the flowers fade. Mash them like potatoes or grate them raw into salads.
Avid cooks will enjoy growing fennel. The bulb, the feathery foliage, and even the seeds are excellent for European-inspired cooking.
The bulb and stems have an anise (licoricelike) flavor that adds interest to raw salads or vegetable appetizers served with a dip. The leaves are also excellent in salads or served snipped atop fish or chicken. And the seed adds a distinct flavor to Southern Italian-inspired red sauces.
Florence fennel, also called bulb fennel, differs from the perennial herb also called fennel in that Florence fennel forms a swollen base at ground level. For best bulb flavor, mound mulch around the base of the plant when bulbs reach 2 inches in diameter.