Artichokes are dinosaurs – looking like a massive thistle, so sculptural and craggy, and there is historical evidence of artichokes being used as food by the ancient Romans and Greeks.
They obviously knew what was good for them as the total antioxidant capacity of an artichoke flower head is one of the highest reported for vegetables.
Here are pictures I took of artichokes growing in a suburban berm, to me their landscaping merit outweighs the culinary, but you do have to have room for them as artichoke (globe) grows to 1.4– 2 m tall with slightly spiky leaves 50–82 cm long….
The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud with numerous triangular petals; the individual florets are purple. The edible parts of the bud are the fleshy lower portions of the petals but mainly the “heart”, but don’t try the immature florets in the center of the bud called the “choke” or beard as these are inedible in older, larger flowers.
Today, globe artichoke cultivation is concentrated in the countries bordering the Mediterranean basin. The main European producers are Italy, Spain, and France. California is the main grower and supplier to the USA.
Click HERE for a simple recipe for artichoke (heart) as a salad from the Bon Appetit site with parmesan, celery, parsley and mint too. Sounds pretty good!