Cool weather is back and while some crops are done for the season – tomatoes, summer squash, green beans, cucumbers, eggplant, etc. Others are just starting.

One of those is the Cardoon, a relative of the artichoke. These large, beautiful plants resemble the artichoke plant, but produce edible leaf stalks instead of flower buds. They have a long growing season and are supposed to be annuals, whereas artichokes are perenials. The cardoons were started in March or April, from seed purchased from Victory Seeds in Molalla, Oregon. They’ve grown since then and, whith the cool weather, have lost their bitterness and are now ready for harvest.

I picked a stalk, stipped the leave, removed the strings and large ribs from the back of the stalks and simmered them for 20 minutes yesterday. What I wound up with was a wonderful vegetable with a very mild artichoke flavor. I dressed it with mayonaise mixed with a bit of honey mustard and sweetened cider vinegar. Delicious!

These will be in everyone’s shares next Saturday. If I can protect the plants from frost and freezes,  they should last for a month or more.

Having never planted Cardoon, I only put 12-14 plants in the ground. Next year I plan to grow at least 40 plants, and if I have room, many more than that, so we’ll have plenty of artichokes in the spring, and cardoon in the fall.

Who said seasonality in growing and eating was a drag?

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