Crosne, also called Chinese artichoke, Japanese artichoke, knotroot and Chorogi. This is an Asian member of the mint family grown for its unusually shaped edible tubers.
They were introduced to Europe in the 1880s (first cultivated in France near Crosne, hence the name) and enjoyed popularity until the 1920s. They have been 'rediscovered' lately and it's popularity has increased here in the U.S.
The tubers look like a string of misshapen mottled pearls (they are also described as 'petrified worms). They can be eaten raw, in salads, or stir fried, boiled, baked or in soups.
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