Baby Artichoke

Availability: All year.

Source: United States.

Handling Tips: 32-34° F. OK to ice.

General Information: Artichokes are actually a flower bud - if allowed to flower, blossoms measure up to seven inches in diameter and are a violet-blue color. Artichokes are a close relative to the thistle. The baby artichoke is usually small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. If cooked thoroughly, the entire artichoke is edible. Steam or saute thoroughly and serve with your choice of "dippings." High in potassium, vitamins A and C.

History: The artichoke was first developed in Sicily and was known to both the Greeks and the Romans. In 77 AD the Roman naturalist Pliny called the choke one of earth's monstrosities, but many continued to eat them. Historical accounts show that wealthy Romans enjoyed artichokes prepared in honey and vinegar, seasoned with cumin, so that this treat would be available year round.

It was not until the early twentieth century that artichokes were grown in the United States. All artichokes commercially grown in the United States are grown in California and Castroville, California, claims to be the "Artichoke Capital of the World." California even has an Artichoke Queen the most famous queen was Marilyn Monroe in 1947. She inspired more people to eat artichokes in that year reign than any year before or after.

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