Artichokes will be our "Featured Veggie" for the month of March. It is actually a flower that has not yet bloomed. The artichoke was brought to America in the 19th century by immigrants of France and Spain.
One standard artichoke has a whole 6 grams of dietary fiber.
"That's a quarter of the recommended daily amount – and more fiber than in one whole cup of prunes!" -Ocean Mist Farms
Artichokes also give a generous amount of protein a whole 4 grams.
"Artichoke plant care begins with great drainage and plenty of sunlight. Often, gardeners assume their artichoke plants haven’t returned in the spring due to a cold winter.
But in reality, soggy soil is usually to blame. Consistently sitting in moisture will damage the artichoke crown and root system. Artichokes love to eat up all the nitrogen from soil.
If you’re planting artichokes in your vegetable garden, good artichoke companion plants include peas, cabbage, sunflowers and tarragon. These plants will not compete for nutrients.
Artichokes grow in most soils, but deeply worked, nutrient-rich soil full of organic matter will increase your artichoke harvest.
To check the texture of your soil, grab a handful, give it a squeeze and then open your hand. Properly mixed soil will not clump together, but it also won’t fall apart.
It should gently crumble across your palm.
Annual varieties produce buds during their first season because they’re not guaranteed to last the winter. If you see poor results with your annual artichokes, you may need to trick them. Expose the seedlings to cool temperatures below 50 degrees in March and April. If temperatures drop below freezing, bring them indoors. Then, wait to plant until after the last frost.
Taking the time to properly fertilize your artichoke bed gives your plants the essential nutrients for a well-established start. Apply a balanced vegetable plant food every two weeks throughout the growing season for healthy plants and high yields." - Gilmour
"The center artichoke bud matures the fastest and grows the largest. When harvesting artichokes, all you need is a utility knife to cut the stem approximately 1 to 3 inches from the base of the bud. The stem becomes a useful handle when trimming the artichoke.
After harvesting the center bud, the artichoke plant will produce side shoots with small buds between 1 to 3 inches in diameter. These side buds are extremely tender and flavorful.
Once the plant stops producing buds in the fall, pruning artichokes helps to prepare for over-wintering. Simply cut the artichoke stem back to a few inches above the ground. Apply a thick mulch of leaves or straw over your artichoke bed to protect the plants for cold winters. If the winter weather dips below 15 degrees, some plants may be damaged. Remove the mulch in the spring after the last frost date for your growing zone.
Artichokes are generally considered 5-year plants. Each plant produces off-shoots that begin to crowd the parent plant. To maintain a healthy artichoke garden, carefully divide your artichoke plants every few years. You don’t have to dig up the entire plant, though. You can simply separate a rooted shoot with your gardening knife and then carefully dig it up with a spade."- Gilmour
Refrigeration: Artichokes will keep, if refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
"Sprinkle artichokes with a few drops of water and store in a perforated plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 1 week." -William Sonoma
Cook from cool room temperature.
Wait until you're ready to eat your artichoke before washing. Use acidulated water to clean and prep your veggies.
"Acidulated water is a culinary term that refers to a mixture of water and an acid, such as vinegar, lemon, or lime juice. It’s used to prevent certain fruits and vegetables from browning, or oxidizing, when cut and exposed to air. Artichokes are especially prone to oxidation, and that’s why we recommend immediately rubbing their cut surfaces with extra lemon juice before submerging them in acidulated water." Fine Cooking
"Artichokes are very so don’t let their prickly and thorny outsides keep you from eating them steamed, stuffed, braised (or even raw). Here, we’ll show you four ways to clean and trim artichokes for recipes. For all methods, have ready a bowl of water and two halved lemons. Squeeze three of the halves into the water and reserve one half. As you work, rub the reserved lemon half over the cut surfaces and immediately put the trimmed artichokes in the lemon water to slow the oxidation. Wet a clean dishtowel in the lemon water and put it over the artichokes to keep them submerged."- Fine Cooking
Commonly used in (which dishes):
Ultimate Stuffed Artichoke
Artichoke Spinach Grilled Cheese
Grilled Ham and Cheese with Artichokes