As I began to prepare the artichokes we told you about last week, I asked Ed if he wanted to see what they looked like inside. He came to the kitchen with his camera.
I'm glad he did, because now I can show you what these little beauties looked like when I cut off the top to expose the leaf structure. I have never worked with artichokes with such tight buds.
I found myself wanting to remove as little as possible to preserve as much of each artichoke as I could. My favorite tool for trimming the leaves are my Shun kitchen shears. (More about those in an upcoming post. For now, let me say this would be a great holiday gift for any cook who is struggling with less well-made kitchen shears.)
Since we wanted to really taste the fullest possible flavor of these artichokes, I decided to cut them in half and steam them.
I also removed the tiny chokes to make less work at the table. (When I can, I like to leave the messy jobs in the kitchen.)
Here's a post from "Our Best Bites" showing how to remove the choke. This also shows the difference in store bought and local-from-the-farm artichokes. I've worked with many artichokes over the years that look just like those in that post.
Off to the cooktop in the steamer basket of my favorite, little, useful cooking pot.
Sorry, we didn't take photos of the finished product. We tucked right in and soon the Stillman's artichokes were just a pile of scraped leaves left behind by two diners with smiles on their faces.
Halley who staffs the Stillman's stand at the Copley Farmers' Market answered a question one of our readers asked in the last post.
Q:"...How are these being harvested in October? Is it because of our seasonally warm fall? Artichokes are a spring vegetable for sure."
A: "So here's the scoop on artichokes. Traditionally they are not a crop grown in New England because they produce during their second year and cannot survive our winters. It is possible to get production here but it takes A LOT of work. You have to start the seeds as transplants in the greenhouse very early in February, then you set up a "cold treatment" that tricks the seedlings into thinking that they have gone through a winter. After that they are transplanted into the field where they finally produce fruit at the end of the summer.
If your reader is looking for more information, they can reference the artichoke section from Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog."
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Words: Penny Cherubino
Photos: ©2014 Ed Cherubino