The origin of artichokes is unknown, though they are said to have come from the Maghreb (North Africa) where it is still found in the wild state. The cardoon, a naturally occurring variant of the same species, is native to the Mediterranean. Artichokes were cultivated in Sicily in the Greek period, the Greeks called them kaktos.
In the US, whole Globe Artichokes are most frequently prepared for cooking by removing all but 5–10 mm or so of the stem, and (optionally) cutting away about a quarter of each scale with scissors. This removes the thorns that can interfere with handling the leaves when eating. Then, the artichoke is boiled or steamed until tender. If boiling, salt can be added to the water, if desired. It may be preferable not to cover the pot while the artichokes are boiled, so that the acids will boil out into the air. Covered artichokes can turn brown due to the acids and chlorophyll oxidation. Leaves are often removed and eaten one at a time, sometimes dipped in vinegar, butter, mayonnaise, aioli, or other sauces.
In France artichokes are very popular deep fried. In Italy artichoke hearts in oil are the usual vegetable for spring in the 'Four Seasons' pizza (with olives for summer, mushrooms for autumn and prosciutto for winter). In Spain, the more tender younger and smaller artichokes are used. They can be sprinkled with olive oil and left in hot ashes in a barbecue, sauteed in olive oil with garlic, or sautéed and combined with eggs in a tortilla (frittata). More often cited are the Greek artichokes (a la polita), of which probably the finest examples are to be found on the island of Tinos.
The heart of the artichoke is considered to be the best part to eat.
Artichoke stems, which are often thrown away, are perfectly edible and taste like the artichoke heart.
Seasonal Information: Artichokes
This information is specifically for countries in the northern temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere; particularly the United Kingdom, however it should be applicable for northern USA, northern Europe, Canada, Russia, etc.
Artichokes are at their best and in season during the following months:
July, August, September, October & November.
5 a day; fruit and vegetable portion sizes
We have recently started to take delivery of a weekly organic fruit and vegetable box which has of course heightened our interest in the 5 a day fruit and vegetable regime. This simple app will show you what makes up one of your 5 a day portions of vegetables. You'll be surprised how small the quantities are in some instances. You'll be able to eat healthier and feel all the better for it.
Select a fruit or vegetable from the picker below to see what its daily portion consists of
What are you waiting for? Pick your fruit and veg now!
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned Ackee
2 Globe Artichoke hearts
7 spears of tinned asparagus
5 spears of fresh asparagus
One third of an Aubergine/Eggplant
3 heaped tablespoons of barlotti beans
3 heaped tablespoons of black-eyed beans
3 heaped tablespoons of broad beans
3 heaped tablespoons of butter beans
3 heaped tablespoons of cannellini beans
4 heaped tablespoons of French beans
3 heaped tablespoons of kidney beans
3 heaped tablespoons of pinto beans
4 heaped tablespoons of runner beans
3 heaped tablespoons of soya beans
2 handfuls of fresh bean sprouts
3 whole bottled beetroot
3 whole fresh baby beetroot
2 spears of broccoli
8 Brussels sprouts
3 heaped tablespoons of butternut squash
2 handfuls of sliced cabbage
3 heaped tablespoons of shredded cabbage
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned carrots
3 heaped tablespoons of fresh carrot slices
8 florets of cauliflower
3 sticks of celery
3 heaped tablespoons of chickpeas
One fifth of a head of Chinese leaves
Half a large courgette
5 cm (2 inch) piece of cucumber
4 heaped tablespoons of curly kale
Half a karela (bitter melon)
1 leek (white portion only)
3 tablespoons of lentils
1 cereal bowl of lettuce (mixed leaves)
1 handful of mange-tout
3 heaped tablespoons of marrow
3 tablespoons of frozen mixed vegetables
2 tablespoons of dried mushrooms
16 medium Okra
1 medium Onion
3 heaped tablespoons of pak choi (Chinese cabbage)