ARTICHOKE

This green-purple, globe-shaped vegetable, covered in layers of leaves, is actually an edible type of thistle. The artichoke has a unique nutty flavour.

A native of the Mediterranean, the artichoke is a perennial in the thistle group of the sunflower (Compositae) family. In full growth, the plant spreads to cover an area about six feet in diameter and reaches a height of three to four feet. Its long, arching, deeply serrated leaves give the plant a fern-like appearance. The Green Globe cultivar accounts for essentially all the artichokes grown in this area. The vegetable that we eat is actually the plants flower bud. If allowed to flower, the blossoms measure up to seven inches in diameter and are a beautiful violet-blue colour. The size of the bud depends upon where it is located on the plant. The largest are terminal buds produced at the end of the long central stems. Buds are smaller lower on the stem.

ARTICHOKE are classed as a vegetable.

Tips

Boil, steam or microwave whole artichokes. To eat artichokes, pull away the leaves individually, dip the base of the leaf into butter or vinaigrette and pull through your teeth, discarding the rest of the leaf. When you reach the hairy choke (it looks like the closed head of a thistle) pull it out and discard. This will reveal the prized meaty heart at the base, which can be spooned out and eaten.

Nutritional Information

Typical values per 100g (edible portion): energy 45 kcal, 190 kJ protein 3.6g carbohydrate 10.7g fat 0g.

Preparation

Wash artichokes under running water. Pull off lower outer leaves. Cut off most of stalk. Snip off tips of leaves with scissors or a sharp knife. Rub cut surfaces with lemon juice to prevent discolouration.

Storage

Store in the salad compartment of a refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Choosing

Choose artichokes with slightly closed, stiff leaves and a short stalk. They should be heavy for their size, compact and firm with a soft green colour, sometimes tinged with purple. Avoid artichokes that appear wilted, woody or that are turning brown.

Fun Fact

In 1948, Marilyn Monroe was chosen as the first California Artichoke Queen.

Availability

Shown below is where this item grows in the world and where it may come from when you buy it at your supermarket or local shop.

CountryJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Egypt
France
Italy