Only a gardeners could be excited about the gift of Jerusalem artichokes. When I started corresponding with a gardening Facebook friend I got these in the mail.
The plant is a member of the sunflower family and the tuber can be eaten like a potato, they taste kind of like water chestnuts.
They are not related to globe artichokes and can be invasive, so they need to be planted with care. If left to run they can take over a field.
The tubers are tastiest when grown in fertile soil and are usually harvested at the end of the season. When they are left in the cold ground or refrigerated they become sweeter.
I've eaten them a couple times, but always wanted to grow my own. For some reason I never ordered them. They'll be planted in the next couple days in the same bed of another invasive, horseradish.
There are lots of recipes for Jerusalem artichokes here; you can find them at farmer's markets towards the end of the season. I've even seen them show up in bigger grocery stores.
Tubers can be ordered from Gurney's and other seed companies.
Growing new things is one of the fun parts of gardening, but planting a gift gives new plants a special meaning. When I harvest these tubers, I'll think of the friend who passed them along.