It looks like a bumper crop for artichokes along the coast. Artichokes grow well in our coastal environment with just a little bit of supplemental water. Then again, I’ve seen them grow in inland vacant lots with no water at all. Artichokes are a striking perennial plant that provides produce for the table.
Globe artichokes (Cynara scolymus) are thistle-like plants with deeply lobed silvery blue-green leaves, and bear edible buds (about 3-5 inches). They are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region where they grow wild. The plant typically grows to a height of 5 feet and blooms prolifically in good garden soil.
Artichoke flower buds are covered with scales and have a fleshy base, known as the “heart”, and a mass of immature florets in the center called the “choke”. These become inedible as the flower matures. If the bud is leftto bloom, it opens to a lovely thistle-like purple flower so don’t feel guilty if you don’t have a yearning for artichokes for dinner.
To grow artichokes, buy rootstock, divide roots, or start new plants from seed. Add plenty of organic matter and slow-release fertilizer to the soil when planting. Provide supplementary water to the soil during the dry season.
Cut off dead leaves with a lopper as they appear at the bottom to prevent damage to developing shoots. When the main stalk has finished producing, cut the plant to the ground, let it rest a few weeks, and then begin watering again. You’ll soon have another beautiful plant that produces unique and unusual vegetable for your dining table.
- Harvest artichokes by cutting off artichokes below the unopened bloom. Timing is everything. Harvest before the scales are open.
- Put artichokes in a pot of salted water in the sink. Any bugs between the scales will crawl out. Soak for about an hour and then rinse and drain.
- Artichokes can be cooked in boiling water for about 45 min. to an hour or until tender. Serve on a plate with butter and garlic or mayonnaise.
Easy Way to Cook Small-sized Artichokes. Baking makes a delicious and pretty dish.
- Harvest and soak in salted water for an hour. Rinse and drain.
- Cut off ends of leaves. Cut the stem close to the bud.
- In pan, cook 3 cloves chopped garlic in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add Italian spice to taste. Stir.
- Place prepared artichokes in a baking pan.
- Drizzle with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and spice.
- Salt with sea salt to taste.
- Put ½ cup water in bottom of baking pan.
- Cover with aluminum foil. Take off foil for last 15 minutes
- Bake at 350ª.
These can be served as a salad, side dish, or appetizer.