New to the farm shop this year are Crosnes (Stachys affinis) pronounced Crone (AKA Chinese Artichokes) a vegetable, bought to Europe from China and Japan in the 1880’s. It’s used extensively in Asian cuisine either stir fried or pickled. In France where they are very popular they are served pan fried in butter with herbs. They have a multiple of uses in the modern kitchen. We grow these in large tubs in our glasshouses and they grow in a similar way to Jerusalem Artichokes. Grown in tubs as they grow rapidly underground putting out a large root system so to isolate them from taking over land earmarked for other crops they are grown in a controlled space. This crop carries a high cost per kilo than Jerusalem Artichokes as they are much more fiddly to harvest (a kilo takes around 2 hours) as they can easily break if not handled correctly and must be carefully washed to remove compost and mud.
We thoroughly recommend you try this vegetable that is easily grown but hard to find in grocery shops. You can eat either raw in salads, lightly fried in butter or stir-fried in Chinese-style dishes. They can be a great substitute to water chestnuts. The small tubers have a delicious, nutty flavour and a satisfying crunch. They are are also a great talking point if you are entertaining due to their grub like appearance which sadly puts many people off.
Here is a recipe for pickled Crosne which are ready in 2 – 3 days and last for up to a month in the refrigerator. They are absolutely delicious with cheese! Download a printer friendly kitchen copy here.