This plant has been garnering a LOT of attention in my garden lately. I had a woman stop her car in the middle of the street the other day to ask me about my artichokes and then she stopped again a few days later when she noticed I had harvested the largest one, asking “Did you eat it? Was it great?” One guy rode up on his bicycle and asked, “Is that an…artichoke?” When I confirmed, he said, “I thought so, but then I just couldn’t believe you could grow them here–this isn’t California!” When I decided to plant my artichokes in the box closest to the sidewalk, I did it so folks walking by could see them growing, figuring it would be a neat thing for people to see, but I really didn’t anticipate this kind of response–it’s been crazy! I’m planning to let a couple of the side shoots go to seed, just so I can see what the flowers look like. And I know they’ll garner more attention and questions from passers-by.
I’ve harvested a few of the main artichokes, and now the side shoots are producing smaller heads. The Violetto variety on the left are beautiful ‘chokes–they are more elongated and narrow than the Green Globe variety on the right. Both are tasty! Even in the artichokes that I harvested at 4 inches in diameter, there wasn’t much of a fuzzy choke inside, so that made prepping them a little easier and I got a little more yummy goodness out of each ‘choke, too. To cook them I cut off the top 1 inch or so of each ‘choke, placed them upside down in my steamer and steamed them for about 25-30 minutes, depending on how large they were. Both times I cooked artichokes I set the timer, then went to the gym, so they sat in the steamer and continued to cook even after the timer went off. They weren’t overcooked, just nice and tender. Perfect for pizza and salads. So I really don’t know how much time it takes to actually steam an artichoke. But my method works, so for now I’ll stick with it (plus, I’m multi-tasking by getting in a workout while dinner preps).
Here was a garden harvest from last week showing the artichokes in comparison to some other veggies. The carrots are Danvers Half Long, so they are about 5-6 inches long, which gives you a pretty good idea how large the artichokes are. This is one garden delicacy I will continue to grow, despite the fact they take some early planning in order to get them started from seed so they will produce ‘chokes in their first year of life and they take up a lot of precious room in the garden. But, oh, they are worth it!