General info about Fruit
The Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is a perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean. It grows to 1.5-2 m tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery glaucous-green leaves 50–80 cm long. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8–15 cm diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple. The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the “heart”; the mass of inedible immature florets in the center of the bud are called the “choke.”
How to choose a ripe and fresh Fruit
When harvesting, if they are cut from the ground so as to leave an inch or two of stem, artichokes possess good keeping qualities, frequently remaining quite fresh for two weeks or longer under average retail conditions.
Ways to prepare and serve the Fruit
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Stem.
Edible Uses: Curdling agent.
Flower buds - raw or cooked. Used before the flowers open. The flavour is mild and pleasant. Gobe artichokes are considered to be a gourmet food but they are very fiddly to eat. The buds are harvested just before the flowers open, they are then usually boiled before being eaten. Only the base of each bract is eaten, plus the ‘heart’ or base that the petals grow from . Small, or baby artichokes, that are produced on lateral stems can be pickled or used in soups and stews. Plants yield about 5 to 6 main heads per year from their second year onwards. Flowering stems - peeled and eaten raw or cooked. A sweet nutty flavour. Young leaf stems - a celery substitute. They are normally blanched to remove the bitterness and then boiled or eaten raw. We find them too bitter to be enjoyable. Leaves - cooked. A bitter flavour. The dried flowers are a rennet substitute, used for curdling plant milks.
Health Benefits and Warnings of eating Fruit
Anticholesterolemic; Antirheumatic; Cholagogue; Digestive; Diuretic; Hypoglycaemic; Lithontripic.
The globe artichoke has become important as a medicinal herb in recent years following the discovery of cynarin. This bitter-tasting compound, which is found in the leaves, improves liver and gall bladder function, stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, especially bile, and lowers blood cholesterol levels. The leaves are anticholesterolemic, antirheumatic, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, hypoglycaemic and lithontripic. They are used internally in the treatment of chronic liver and gall bladder diseases, jaundice, hepatitis, arteriosclerosis and the early stages of late-onset diabetes. The leaves are best harvested just before the plant flowers, and can be used fresh or dried.
Recipes made mainly with this Fruit
Whole Globe Artichokes are prepared for cooking by removing all but 5–100 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, about 15–45 minutes. 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.
Artichokes can also be made into an herbal tea; artichoke tea is produced as a commercial product in the Dalat region of Vietnam.
Artichoke is the primary flavor of the Italian liquor Cynar.