Artichokes are the Flowering Buds of the Artichoke Plant.
Artichoke
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An Artichoke is considered a vegetable, but are technically plants. The part of the Artichoke we eat, "The Globe," is the plant's flower bud before it blooms.

Artichokes are plants that are native to the Mediterranean. They can grow well in other areas with a similar climate. Artichokes are semi-perennial and can bear fruit the first year. However, Artichokes will likely yield the largest Artichokes in the second or third year and have past their fruitful life by the fourth year.

Artichokes sprout multiple buds or "Chokes" during the growing season. Each plant has a single "King" choke that is significantly larger than the rest and springs up from the center of the plant.

Nearer the top of the plant the chokes are usually larger. Artichokes get progressively smaller as they lose sunlight closer to the ground. Each plant may produce 10-20 additional chokes.

When we think of Artichokes, we are most often thinking of the Globe Artichoke which is large, green and shaped like a bulb. The other common variety found in the United States is the Baby Artichoke which is small, pointy and usually "chokeless."

Season

Artichokes are considered part of the Spring Fruits and Vegetables. The larger Artichoke harvest occurs in the Spring. The larger thistles, are best in the Spring. A second harvest can occur in the Fall.

Purchasing

When shopping for Artichokes of either variety, look at the "Globe." You want to see tightly closed leaves with a healthy green color and over all healthy look which indicates freshness and that they are not dehydrated.

When prepping them, you will probably have to do some trimming and scooping to get the best bits but the end result will be worth it. Also, pick up the Artichoke and feel the heft. Select those that feel the densest.

If you are selecting Artichokes in the winter months, you may see some Globes with a blotchy color, or some white blistering on the exterior. These are called "Frost Kissed" by gourmands and are said to have a more nutty flavor. Also, they have a more tender interior due to cold weather in the fields.

Storage

Remember that Artichokes are best fresh. If you must store Artichokes, store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. We have a cool trick to improve the Holding quality of Artichokes, in the refrigerator. Slice a thin disk off of the bottom of the Artichoke stem. A dime's width should do it. Sprinkle the raw stem with water, before refrigerating them in an airtight plastic bag. Artichokes should not be frozen for best results.

If you plan to store your cooked Artichokes, for later use, temper them to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator.

Culinary Uses

Artichokes are a Sturdy Vegetable and are not eaten Raw. Artichokes are great for cooking in advance (a day or so) and then Reheating before service.  

Artichokes can be Steamed, Roasted, Stuffed, or Grilled.

Portion Size

Allow 1-2 oz of cooked Artichoke per person.

Nutritional Value USDA
ARTICHOKES,(GLOBE OR FRENCH),RAW
Amount Per 100g
Calories 47
%Daily Value*
 
0%
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
4%
Sodium 94mg
7%
Potassium 370mg
3%
Total Carbohydrate 10g
20%
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes