The scaly looking vegetable is the bud of a mostly inedible thistle flower. The globe artichoke is a perennial in the thistle family that produces long, silver-green, lobed leaves that make the artichoke look like a giant fern. Artichokes contain a unique organic acid called cynarin, which stimulates sweet receptors on the palate, changing the character of consumed food and drinks.
- Fiber important for digestive health and keeps you feeling full
- Folate important for preventing neural tube defects and may help prevent cancer
- Vitamin C important for the immune system, healthy skin, and wound healing
How to Shop
Fresh artichokes will feel heavy compared to their size and squeak when squeezed. Select ones that are a deep green color and have tightly formed leaves. During the fall and winter months artichokes may be darker and have browning on the tips. In this case look for green on the inside of the petals and avoid those that are wilted or dried.
How to Store
Sprinkle with a bit of water and refrigerate in an airtight container and they should last a week if stored properly.
How to Grow
Artichokes prefer to grow in areas with full sun. Before planting, mix a shovel of compost or aged manure into the soil. Space each plant three to four feet apart in rows and leave four to five feet between the rows. Plant the shoots and dormant roots about six inches deep. The tops should be above ground level. Water deeply at the time of planting and keep the soil moist as it grows. Mulch will help keep the moisture in the soil. Artichokes will go dormant in hot weather, but will return to growing once cooler weather arrives. Harvest artichoke buds when they have swollen but are still closed tight.