artichokes anyone?

myonlysunshine(z5 ma)August 12, 2013

Does anyone in Ma grow artichokes?I just learned they are perennial and really want to try them,but was hoping for some advice =]

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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

If you mean the globe artichokes I've never known or seen many grown as perennials in our area. But I'm sure if someone on this forum knows, he or she will be glad to share the experience.

If you are talking about the Jersusalem artichokes, the ones that grow underground tubers, sort of like ugly potatoes, those do come back year after year. Above ground they resemble a sunflower on a diet.

I had them a long time ago, and it seemed no matter how many I dug in fall, there were always plenty left for the next season. After a major renovation and intense re-grading of the garden level, they are gone.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 3:07PM
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myonlysunshine(z5 ma)

yes,the globe ones,I would be interested to see if they grow

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 3:13PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

I can't say that I've ever tried artichokes. What do they taste like? What's the best way to cook them?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:20PM
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I've grown them, but they're tender, and have never come back for me. Supposedly if you plant the right variety, early enough and in a hot enough spot, you can get some globes. It's never happened in my garden, but I still love them and grow them whenever I can find young plants in early spring.

I also grow cardoons, a close relative that does not have the globes but which apparently has edible stems. These seem to be a little hardier than chokes, as they sometimes come back. I don't eat them, I grow them for the dramatic foliage.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 4:21PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Tree oracle, it's hard to say what they taste like. Maybe a bit earthy or nutty. Those of us with Italian backgrounds probably have had them more than most people. One way that I like them is to stuff them. The stem is removed and chopped small to add to a bread stuffing (Italian bread (soaked and squeezed), fresh parsley, garlic, olive oil, chopped stems, optional chopped black olives, salt and pepper - mom's recipe). The outermost base leaves are removed, and the sharp points removed from the remaining leaves. Open the center and remove the "choke" which is the furry looking part which would have bloomed into the thistle-like flower. The stuffing is placed in the center and between all the leaves (tedious!) and then they are placed close together in a baking dish with a small amount of water, covered with foil and placed into the oven until tender. The last few minutes can be uncovered for a bit of crispiness. To eat them, you sort of pull off a leaf and scrape it on your teeth, getting a bit of the stuffing and a bit of the fleshy part of the leaf. The rest of the leaf, which is tough, is discarded. It's and art!

Smaller ones can be eaten just by cutting in half and steaming, often with just lemon or oil. There are lots of recipes online, since there seems to be an interest in Italian cuisine these days.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 4:37PM
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myonlysunshine(z5 ma)

I like artichoke spinach dip,it's incredible!I'm in zone 5 but have a spot where gladioli have grown for 4 years without having to be dug out.I want to try them there

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:09PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

Thanks for the info, Bill. I'm not sure that I'm any more eager to try them after reading your post, though :-)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:34PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Tree oracle, they are a bit of work to prepare that way. Of course you can always find a friend who will make them and invite you over! :-)

You can buy artichoke hearts canned which are ready to use, as in the spinach artichoke dip mentioned here. They are also sold in jars marinated and are eaten as are or added to a salad or whatever you prefer.

Myonlysunshine, about the gladioli, when I was a kid, my mom always planted them, but I had to help dig them up in fall and store them for winter, and replant the following spring. But now I have them come back every year, and they have been in the ground for at least 15 years. And, no, they are NOT the hardy ones, but they are the big, regular florist types. So either the climate is warmer or they are hardier than we thought. Either way, it works for me!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 6:32AM
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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

There's a wonderful story -- purportedly true -- about the French Resistance movement and artichokes. Supposedly, a group of German soldiers "commandeered" a French farmhouse and ordered the family to prepare them the finest dinner they could. The farmer's wife had little choice but to serve them something, but her act of silent rebellion was to smile nicely ... and serve them barely cooked artichokes, telling them they were the most prized dish in the region. Then watching (I'm sure with suppressed delight and satisfaction) as the soldiers struggled mightily to chew the leaves and chokes.

I love artichokes (especially the baby ones, done as Bill says -- halved or even quartered if large enough, then I briefly braise in olive oil to brown them slightly, then add lemon or balsamic vinegar and some water or white wine, cover the saute pan, and steam until tender), but cannot imagine how they could be grown in our climate. You see fields of them in California, where most of the ones you see in stores come from.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 11:16AM
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They may be perennials elsewhere, but most areas of New England are too cold for them to be perennial since they are only hardy to zone 7. However, Johnny's has a variety that is supposed to produce 'chokes from seed the first year if the seeds are started early indoors. You might be able to grow them in large pots and bring them into a cool garage or similar area for the winter to grow them as perennials.

Here is a link that might be useful: Imperial star artichoke, Johnny's select seed

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 8:36PM
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myonlysunshine(z5 ma)

Well nhbabs,I have a micro climate in my yard where I can grow things that aren't supposed to be grown here.I really want to try a few different things to see what will grow there since nothing has to be dug up for winter.The glads I grow are not cold hardy and they come back every year,I like to push my zones ;)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 10:26AM
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molie(z6 CT)

Ah, Bill--- your mom's artichoke recipe sounds a lot like my mom's! They were the most delicious treat ever.

Mom used to make a dozen or more at a time ⦠my children loved them, even when they were little. But boy, are they a pain to make! I can still "hear" my mother ----swearing to herself in Italian whenever she made them and complaining how they'd turn her fingers all black. I tried her recipe once, but it didn't turn out "right." I know, I know, I should try again. Lots of work but worth it.

Thanks for taking me down memory lane.

Myonlysunshine (love that song reference!), here's a link I found about growing them in New England --- so I guess it's possible. They are very expensive to buy and if you really enjoy them, this could be the way to go.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Grow Artichokes

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 6:09PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Molie, they are a lot of work. That's why they were mostly a holiday treat. Now all this talk is making me think about cooking some.............

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 4:57AM
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I just pull off a few outer leaves and steam them; then serve them whole, with lemon butter; everyone does their own trimming at the table. Easy as can be, and more fun for all, as long as it's not a formal dinner.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 10:25AM
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myonlysunshine(z5 ma)

thank you all so much!I only recently discovered that I like them and love to try and grow new things.I usually stick to different tomato varieties(currently growing 12 diff kinds) but couldn't resist the thought of fresh grown artichokes.Very excited to get growing,lol

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 1:53PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I love the canned marinated artichokes. I use them in lasagna, salads, and just to eat by themselves. A friend used to fry chicken in the oil that the artichokes were marinated in, and serve with the canned artichokes. It was delicious and I keep meaning to try it myself someday.

I've only eaten fresh artichokes once. Not sure how they were cooked, but were served with butter. Very tasty.

I never realized that artichokes are a member of the thistle family until I ran across this photograph of artichokes in bloom.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 11:31AM
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Another good way to eat them is either room temperature or chilled (after steaming of course) with a tiny bit of mayonnaise on each leaf. My Parisian boyfriend showed me how to lay each eaten leaf on the plate in a circular fashion so at the end of the eaten artichoke, you have a lovely "flower" on the plate rather than a big bunch of trash.
Bon Appetite.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 10:39AM
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