The tubers hail from the mint family and are native to Japan and China. It wasn't until the 1880s that the Chinese artichoke or Crosnes were introduced into Europe, firstly in France where they were cultivated near the region of Crosne.
Chinese artichokes have since become more popular across the pond in the United States where they have become something of a darling of the chef world. Harvested by hand their hefty price tag only aids their fine-dining ambitions.
How to Eat Chinese Artichoke or Crosnes
Most similar to water chestnuts these vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked, much in the same way as sunchokes.
Try cooking them simply, by blanching and sauteeing in herbs and butter or lightly steam and finishwith lots of butter - the preferred French method of Larousse.
In Japan they are commonly pickled, while chefs experiment by adding them shaved or sliced to add accent to dishes.