The artichoke is native to the Mediterranean and can be eaten raw or cooked well. It is valued for its tender heart and its distinctive flavor.
L’Artichoke in brief:
French Production(1): 44 000 tonnes (average 2008-2012)
Production areas : Brittany, Languedoc-Roussillon
Availability : May to November
Peak season : May-June
Average price in 2013(2): 3,72 € / kg
Home consumption in 2013(2): 730 g per household
Nutrition(3): 100 g of artichoke are 44.4 kcal
L’artichoke side Culture
Seedlings start from the end of April under glass or from April to May in the ground. It will take a year to produce the first harvest.
There Culture artichokes requires special attention and a solid know-how of the producer. The soil should be frequently ventilated but also regularly watered. It is when the plants reach a meter high that the harvest can begin.
Each mature artichoke is hand harvested between May and November. The harvest ends when’a beautiful blue-purple flower appears between the scales of the vegetable.
There are two main varieties: Camus, a native of Britain, which is eaten cooked, and Violet de Provence, which is more suited to a raw tasting.
- Read : Cultivation advice and Care’artichoke
Artichoke, a bit of history
A native of the Mediterranean, the artichoke stems from different botanical crosses. The first traces are found in Italy during the Renaissance (mid-sixteenth century). First used as a remedy, he also had a reputation as an aphrodisiac.
In France, it is introduced for the first time on the table of Queen Catherine de Medici. The vegetable became his guilty pleasure, like that of Louis XIV. It was he who encouraged the cultivation of the artichoke in France.
Its success is such that are five different species in Versailles at the time of the Sun King: the White, Green, Purple, Red and Sweet Genoa.
It was not until 1810 that an agronomist in the Paris region develops "Camus de Bretagne", the favorite of the French artichoke.
This variety of deep sage green and has a rounded and tight flower head with large scales and short.
L’Artichoke kitchen side
Choose artichokes with a dense head with unstained scales and tight. The leaves of the artichokes must be wiry and slightly spicy. If the top of the leaves is black, it means that’he was picked for a long time.
To be sure choose a fresh artichoke, make sure the stem is slightly moist and soft color.
The artichoke is preserved only a few days in the crisper of the refrigerator.
- It is imperative to leave his stem intact before storing in the fridge in order to preserve the’oxidation.
- Once cooked, the artichoke is not conserved (even free).
The artichoke is eaten raw or cooked. It requires no preparation before cooking, if it is a quick run underwater. If you plan to eat raw, be sure to dry the leaves so that it does not soak up water.
To cook, allow 20 to 40 minutes (depending on size) in salted boiling water. Pull on a sheet, if it comes off without resistance, is that it is cooked.
- Read: all our recipes based’artichoke
Source: (1) Agreste, (2) Kantar Worldpanel 2013 (3) 2013 Ciqual
© Philippe Dufour / Interfel