Anyone who has planted artichokes in the garden for the first time will surely wait for the harvest. But now there is another question: when is the right time for it?There are green and purple artichokes. Did you plant artichokes in the garden? Then you surely know that ripe artichokes are a tasty delicacy. But the plants from the thistle family have more to offer: The beautiful flowers are long-lasting and an ornament for any dry arrangement. So you have to decide: eat, decorate or both? But when is the right time to harvest? You can recognize this by a few specific characteristics.
Harvesting edible artichokes: Now they are ripe!
You can tell when the scales are tight and the flowers are not yet open. The flower head must feel firm and plump. This is the case from mid to late July under favorable conditions and depending on the variety. You can harvest later varieties from August to October. The plants usually have several flower heads that you can harvest little by little.
Cut off the flower heads just below the flower base. When the scales spread, the buds change color and the plant begins to bloom, artichokes no longer taste good. Green varieties turn reddish, violet varieties become very dark to brown-black on the outside.
In the first year, the edible buds are often still very small. Then harvesting and preparation are hardly worth it. Better wait another year to get the full benefit.
Planting green or purple artichokes?
Green varieties are more robust and resistant, violet varieties are somewhat more sensitive and less productive. But the taste of violet varieties is often more intense and the flesh is more tender. In general, both varieties are suitable for consumption. Here are a few known varieties:
❍ Known green varieties:
- Camus de Bretagne
- Green globe
❍ Known purple varieties:
- Petit Violet
- Violet de Provence
Prepare and enjoy artichokes
If you only know artichokes as a topping on the Pizza Quattro Stagioni, you are definitely missing something! Artichokes from your own garden taste great and are not difficult to prepare. The lower, fleshy parts of the bracts and the tender heart are generally edible. The best way to prepare these parts is as follows:
❶ Wash the flower heads thoroughly under running water. Then break out the stem. Best over a table edge. It takes a little bit of strength.
❷ Use the stem to pull out the so-called “hay”. The fibers sit on the flower base and are inedible. If the stem does not come off at all, cut it off with the lower part of the flower. The hay must now be removed again. Very young buds contain hardly any hay and can be eaten whole.
❸ In the next step, cut off the outer leaves and the tip. Drizzle all interfaces with lemon juice immediately, otherwise they will turn unsightly brown.
❹ Then boil the artichoke in salt water to which you have added lemon juice or white wine. Small heads take between 20 and 30 minutes, larger heads up to 40 minutes until they are done.
Artichokes are considered very healthy. They support the liver, bile and heart and they are appetizing. The delicate flower heads are ideal as an appetizer! It also tastes spicy dips or a hearty vinaigrette. You can also process the artichokes further: You can e.g. fill, use as a topping for a vegetable tart, soak in oil with spices, gratin and much more.
Harvest flowering artichokes
If you are still missing the perfect table decoration, then wait until the magnificent bloom shows. The purple flower heads are a gorgeous eye-catcher in the garden, but they also look great in a vase. Do not add water, because then the artichoke flowers will last for weeks and dry very nicely.