Artichokes are actually a variety of thistle that has been cultivated as food. The edible part is the immature flower bud which is harvested before it blooms.
Growing and harvesting
Artichokes grow 1-1.5 metres in height and width and are perennial. As a winter crop, Harvest Moon sources Artichokes from April to October from growers in the Werribee South region. Artichokes are hand harvested.
Look for a head that is heavy for its size (still has lots of moisture) with tight, compact leaves that squeak a little when squeezed (gently). Discoloured leaves are okay - this happens when they come in contact with the air.
We keep Artichokes refrigerated after harvest, and this should be maintained at home. Keep them in the fridge, in a sealable bag, sprinkled with water.
Trim the leaves from the Artichoke - these are not edible except for the flesh on the bottom where they connect to the heart. The entire heart and the inner part of the stem are edible, but the choke (the inner part of the leaves) is feathery and should be discarded. Steam them, boil them with lemon, deep-fry or barbecue them on the grill.
Artichokes are a good source of fibre, folate, vitamin C and biotin which assists with the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates.
Try it now
Try this delicious Spinach Artichoke Dip from Nagi at Recipe Tin Eats.