Hand drawn image of Globe artichoke

Globe artichoke

Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus

Many farmers have a passion for one particular crop that surpasses rational consideration: for Guy it’s globe artichokes. They have a magnificent sculptural form in the field and a rich flavour. Relish these treats slowly, leaf by leaf, or slowly braise the delicate hearts.

Image of Globe artichoke being produced

In the kitchen

Storage

They are best eaten straight after picking, but they’ll keep well in the fridge for up to a week. A good specimen has a tight leaf formation and feels heavy for its size.

Prep & Cooking tips

Majestic and structural in the field; theatrical in the cooking and eating. Their unusual, nutty, asparagusy taste is one that’s well worth acquiring.

For boiling whole you simply need to trim away most of the stalk and cut off the top quarter of the head. Peeling the artichoke down to its heart is more involved; it is well armoured and much cutting, trimming and scrapping is need to claim the prized flesh.

They’re simplest boiled for 20-30 mins and eaten leaf by leaf, dipped in melted butter or vinaigrette. Suck the flesh base off the leaves. When you reach the central, feathery choke, remove it with a teaspoon and discard. If you choose to trim them down to their tender hearts, you can gently braise them in a little olive oil and white wine.

Easy ideas

1. Whole

The easiest way to deal with an artichoke is to boil it whole. To prepare it, cut off the top quarter, use scissors to trim off the tips of any visible leaves, and snap off the stalks. An average artichoke will take 20-30 mins to boil. Pull away the leaves, one at a time, dipping them in warm butter, and scrape and suck the nugget of tender flesh from each leaf. When you reach the centre, remove the furry inedible choke with a teaspoon before eating the tender heart.

2. Stuffed

Prepare as for boiling, but remove the feathery core with a teaspoon before cooking. Fill with a stuffing, packing the cavity and pressing it into the gaps between the outside leaves. We’d recommend ricotta, egg, parmesan and herbs. Braise with a little wine and stock in a covered roasting tray for just shy of an hour. Uncover for the final 20 mins for a bit of colour.

3. Trimmed & braised

If you have patience and dexterity, artichokes can be trimmed down to just their prized, fleshy hearts. Before cooking, keep in water, acidulated with a squeeze of lemon juice, to stop them discolouring. Then braise in wine and stock, or boil until tender. To prepare them, pull away the outer leaves, breaking them off as near to the base as possible, until the lower half of the remaining leaves are a creamy colour and tender rather than green and hard. Cut off the top with a sharp knife, leaving the cream-coloured bottom section. Trim the stalk and base, cutting away the tough green outer layer and leaf stubs to reveal paler flesh beneath. Quarter the artichokes, scrape out the chokes, then pop them in acidulated water until you’re ready to cook.

Goes well with

Acidic flavours (Lemon, White wine, Vinegar)
Anchovies
Cured pork (Bacon, Chorizo, Prosciutto)
Dairy (Butter, Cheese, Cream)
Garlic
Green summer veg (Broad beans, Green beans, Peas)
Herbs (Bay, Chervil, Chives, Mint, Parsley, Tarragon, Thyme)
Mushrooms and truffles Shellfish (Crab, Prawns)

Globe artichoke recipes

View all Globe artichoke recipes

In the field

  • Meet the grower: Guy Singh-Watson, Riverford on Wash Farm, Devon.

    Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson started the business at Wash Farm in South Devon in 1987, and we’ve been growing organic veg at Wash ever since.

    Read more

Seasonality

Harvested from late May to late July with smaller heads (baby artichokes) from new plants in September and October.
jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec

More in the A-Z

View all A-Z