The artichoke is a perennial in the thistle group of the sunflower family and is believed to be a native of the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. Today most artichokes grown worldwide are cultivated in France, Italy, and Spain, while California provides nearly 100 percent of the United States crop. Historians believe the Artichoke originated in the Mediterranean coun- tries, possible Sicily or Tunisia, where they were first developed into an edible vegetable. In 77 AD the Roman naturalist Pliny called the choke one of earth's monstrosities, but many continued to eat them. Catherine de Medici is said to have brought artichokes to France in the 16th century when she arrived from Florence at the age of fourteen to marry the future Henry II. She apparently ate a lot of them too, which—given the artichoke's over-sexed reputation—scandalized the more straight-laced of the court. The major California production areas for artichokes (the globe artichoke, Cynara scolymus) are the central coast (Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo Counties); south coast (Santa Barbara, Ventura, Orange, and San Diego Counties); desert (Riverside and Imperial Counties); and the Central Valley. While California artichokes are available throughout the year, peak season is March through May and again to a smaller degree in October.
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.
Artichoke comes from the 1530s, from articiocco, Northern Italian variant of Italian arcicioffo, from Old Spanish alcarchofa, from Arabic al-hursufa "artichoke. " The Northern Italian variation probably is from influence of ciocco meaning "stump. " The plant looks something like a stump and the "arti - was a version
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.
What Happens If You Eat the Choke in an Artichoke? Artichokes are a tasty but unconventional vegetable, with a core of delicately flavored flesh surrounded by a thicket of tough, spiny leaves. Eating the choke isn't harmful, but it isn't pleasant either.
If you have trouble with rats, rabbits, or squirrels eating your other fruits and vegetables, artichokes may provide a reprieve; the spiny leaf bracts typically discourage animals from eating the artichoke plants, especially those that are larger and more established.
Artichokes are low in fat while rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Particularly high in folate and vitamins C and K, they also supply important minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. To top it off, artichokes rank among the most antioxidant-rich of all vegetables ( 2, 3 ).
Once cooked, artichokes should be eaten within 24 hours. While they do not become poisonous, as is often said, their sensory characteristics change, and they become less pleasant to eat.
The best thing about these perennial plants is that they're fully winter hardy and re-grow every year, meaning you'll get a crop of artichokes year after year.
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.
Productive Longevity. A well-tended artichoke plant can last and produce as long as 15 years, provided the grower divides and thins the root stock every three years or so to prevent the offshoots from overcrowding the plants and diminishing productivity.
In the mid-range zones of the country, artichokes live through winter under the soil and begin new growth once the ground begins to warm in the spring. Annual artichokes can be transplanted into the garden after the last frost.
Artichokes (Cynara scolymus) are grown for their edible flower buds. They can be annual or perennial plants, depending on the variety. In warm Mediterranean climates, they are grown outdoors year-round and harvested in the spring. They can be grown indoors, however, if you have the space.