Harvest artichoke plants - when are they ready for harvest?

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Harvest artichoke plants - when are they ready for harvest?: harvest

Already in ancient Rome, the artichoke was consumed mainly by the upper classes. In the Middle Ages, the plant was not only appreciated for its taste, but also because of their medicinal effect, so that they came with migrating monks across the Alps to Central Europe. Here it was mainly grown in princely gardens and monastery gardens. To this day, the plant is considered a gourmet vegetable, which hardly baffles the knowledgeable gardener. The creamy artichoke meat is not only a culinary delight - the food is also more expensive than the rearing. Only the timing of the harvest must be well adjusted.

Artichokes are very healthy

Artichokes contain the bitter substances cynarin and cynaridine, which have a stimulating effect on the digestive system and also have a beneficial effect on the liver. They should even be able to support the regeneration of an already damaged liver. In addition, the plant contains cancer-preventing flavonoids, which also help lower cholesterol levels. Furthermore, these substances are said to have a vascular protective effect. Diabetics tolerate the artichoke-containing inulin, a carbohydrate, especially well. However, this can cause bloating in sensitive individuals. Because of the positive health effects of the ingredients you can buy artichoke preparations as a dietary supplement in the pharmacy or health food store - or simply grow the plant yourself in the garden.

Growth and appearance

If you want to grow your own artichokes in the garden, you can use the seeds on the windowsill from February onwards. The still tender young plants then come to the iris in the bed - and can be up to two meters high and as wide. These are stately shrubs with a lot of space, which the gardener must of course pay attention to during spring planting: Each artichoke needs at least one square meter of space.
After planting, the plant first forms a leaf rosette, from which the flower stems usually grow out in the second year. For some cultivars cultured once a year, you can even harvest in the first year of planting. The shrub looks very pretty in the garden due to the silvery gray leaves and the imposing growth. The inflorescences are - if not harvested - thistle-like and decorated with numerous purple tubular flowers.

Can you also grow artichokes in your home garden?

Artichokes - Cynara cardunuculus

In a winter-mild climate such as in the German wine-growing regions, the artichoke can be cultivated perennial, but is not reliable hardy here. Therefore, you should cover it over the cold season with soil, straw, leaves or a fleece. But even those living in climatically rougher regions do not necessarily have to do without artichokes grown on their own. In this case, you can fall back on specially bred one-year varieties such as 'Vert Globe', 'Vert de Provence' or 'Imperial Star'. These develop in the first year of planting many tasty flower buds.
If you want to grow artichokes, you must pay attention to these points:
  • Prefer plants from seeds from February
  • Alternatively, buy seedlings
  • plant out in May
  • do not tolerate frost
  • Big need of space
  • need loose, nutrient-rich soil
  • full sunshine location is preferred
  • high nutritional requirements
  • fertilize regularly with organic fertilizer
  • chop regularly and loosen the soil
  • when dry
With good growth conditions and appropriate care, you can finally harvest the first own artichoke flowers from their own crops in summer.

When are artichokes ready for harvest?

In artichokes, the inflorescences are consumed. However, the flowers should still be tightly closed, because they are no longer edible as soon as they have opened. They become dry and lose their distinctive taste. The harvest period starts depending on the climate in June or July and can last for several weeks.
However, the plants are very large, but not particularly flowering: per plant develop in the best conditions, a maximum of six to eight buds, with luck, it may be up to twelve - but often there are only one or two.
This is how you recognize ripe flower buds:
  • Flower bottom completely formed
  • green cover sheets still tightly closed
  • or are just beginning to shed lightly
  • Tips of the cover sheets turn slightly brown
Tip: Of course, you can wait until the optimal time to harvest the artichokes - or cut off the tiny flower buds that are not mature by May / early June. These can be cooked whole and are particularly tender, even if perhaps not much is "tuned".At this time, new ones are growing.

How are artichokes harvested?

Artichokes - Cynara cardunuculus

Artichokes are harvested by using a clean and sharp knife to cut off the flower bud and the stalk below it. The flower stem should be preserved, especially if you do not want to process the buds immediately - this provides the delicacy with moisture and prevents it from drying out. When harvesting, start with the bud on the top shoot of the plant and then harvest it from top to bottom.

Store and process artichokes properly

In the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, artichokes only last a few days. It is best to wrap it in a damp cloth so that it does not dry out. If the stalk is long enough, you can put the flower buds in a vase for storage.
The preparation should be done as soon as possible:
  • Wash the whole artichoke thoroughly.
  • Remove the handle, but do not cut it off!
  • Break it off over a table edge or similar.
  • Only then can you remove the inedible "hay" inside
  • by pulling it out with the stem.
  • Even the tough outer leaves are removed,
  • they are also inedible.
  • Immediately sprinkle the interfaces with lemon juice
  • otherwise they will oxidize and become unruly brown
  • Cook artichoke in boiling salted water until firm
  • Cooking time varies between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on the size
You can also add lemon juice and white wine to the cooking water for the special touch.

To eat an artichoke in style

Artichokes - Cynara cardunuculus

If you prepare the artichoke as described above, you have already removed the inedible parts before consumption. Of course, it looks more beautiful if you cook and serve them whole - then your guests have to work on the bud itself. For consumption, individually pluck the bracts and dipping them in a suitable sauce - for example in a cream cheese cream, a herbal or tomato sauce or in a vinaigrette of good olive oil and aromatic herbs.
The creamy artichoke meat is pulled out with the teeth from the lower part of the leaves. Remaining coarse fibers just set aside. The closer you get to the flower ground, the more abundant the edible portion becomes. On the other hand, you eat the delicate flower soil with a knife and fork as soon as you remove the so-called hay, which is excessively hard fibers.
Tip: Artichokes are usually eaten as an appetizer. A bowl of water and a small towel to clean your fingers should be ready for the guests on the table.
Originating in the Mediterranean, artichokes have been eaten for thousands of years and are considered "royal vegetables". Only the flower buds that have not yet been opened are consumed, which are simply cut off together with a stalk with a sharp knife and then boiled in salted water. The right time for a harvest is before the scales open and the flowers appear. These are thistle-like and with many violet tubular flowers - however, no longer suitable for the enjoyment in the kitchen. Artichokes are not only a vegetable for gourmets, but are also considered very healthy.

Video Board: Artichoke Harvest With Me I Foodie Gardening Allotment Y2E22.

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