The artichoke is a thistle, meaning part of the daisy family. It is technically a wild flower. Each little layer we eat is a flower bud that has yet to bloom. The artichoke bud can be eaten as a vegetable after flowering, it's virtually inedible. Peeled and cooked artichoke stems are fully edible. Eating the hairy choke can cause a choking hazard. Baby artichokes are completely edible. Enjoy both the leaves and choke. Globe artichoke is an heirloom vegetable grown for its tender, edible flower buds. With their large, silvery-green leaves and thick stems topped with pinecone-like flower buds, artichoke plants add a strong architectural element to vegetable garden plantings. Growing artichokes in containers is easy—provided the container is large enough. Artichokes have large root systems, and need a large soil volume—or a rich potting soil in a smaller volume, and much more frequent watering—to form heavy, solid buds.
Look at the stem. A ripe artichoke will have a green stem like the rest of the vegetable. A black or dark brown stem at the point of the cut is a bad sign—it means the artichoke is more than likely overripe.
If an artichoke's leaf tips are split, shriveled and dry looking, or discolored with dark brown edges, the artichoke is past its prime and won't be good to eat. If the leaf tips are still intact but look discolored, the artichoke may have suffered frost damage, but its quality is still good overall.
Do no water or feed plants during the dormant time. About 4 months later, dress the plants with compost and begin watering again; foliage will re-sprout and plants will produce new flower buds. Annual artichokes do not require a long dormant period to promote flowering.
If you are growing your own starts, germinate the seeds at 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and expect sprouts in eight to 12 days. Start the seeds eight to 12 weeks before the last frost and keep the sprouts between 35 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the last 10 days to encourage flowering.
Braised Baby Purple Artichokes with Olive Oil and Wine. You are in for a treat if you can get ahold of baby artichokes. They are almost entirely edible because there is no hairy choke inside to remove.
L. The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus), also known by the names French artichoke and green artichoke in the U. S., is a variety of a species of thistle cultivated as a food. The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom.
When choosing your artichokes, look for tightly-packed leaves; splayed leaves are a sign your vegetables is less than fresh. A couple of brown spots, however, are fine. Using a knife with a serrated edge, slice off the top half inch for a nice flat surface.
Where winters are mild, you can grow globe artichokes as perennials, replacing plants every four years. In most areas, though, globe artichokes must be grown as annuals. Growing artichokes from seeds started in late winter will produce edible buds in midsummer and fall.
To top it off, artichokes rank among the most antioxidant-rich of all vegetables ( 2, 3 ). Summary Artichokes are low in fat, high in fiber, and loaded with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, phosphorus, and magnesium. They are also one of the richest sources of antioxidants.
Since artichokes are perennials, the more care in preparing the soil and planting, the better their quality and the greater the harvest. A well cared for plant will produce as many as forty or fifty buds.
Artichokes like full sun, but not excessive heat. They thrive in the cool, foggy, coastal climates, but with some care can produce well in other mild-winter areas. Afternoon shade can help where summers are hot. To produce the large and tender buds, the plants need rich, deep soil and ample watering.
''There are three reasons why artichokes are expensive, '' Hopper says. ''One reason is that each artichoke on the plant, and there are several, matures at different times; so each must be picked by hand. ''Second, artichoke seeds don`t breed true; so root stock must be used.
Cut back the artichoke plant completely just after harvesting its buds at the end of the summer or beginning of the autumn – yellowing leaves serve as an indicator that it's time to cut the plant back. Use pruning shears to cut all spent stalks down to the ground.