Forget what you know about artichokes; these green beauties are rich in tradition and and they’re a testament to the innovation and dedication of Steve Jordan and the growers at Baroda Farms.
Since their inception, Lyon artichokes have been known as the “New Perennial” as they are the first new perennial artichoke developed in almost 80 years. There is nothing ordinary about these chokes: their large size, a rich nutty flavor, rounded thorn-less leaves and large tender hearts make them a prized find among artichoke lovers.
Lyon artichokes are grown on fertile soil about 4 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean in Lompoc, California in spectacular Santa Barbara County situated about 200 miles south of the “Artichoke Capital” Castroville, CA where the majority of artichokes in the United State are grown.
Across the 250 or so acres of artichokes on Baroda Farms, Lyon artichokes own the lions share (pun intended) of the growing space, for good reason. Cool weather complete with daily coastal fog that coats the region make for the ideal for growing conditions for these prized artichokes.
And there’s more to love about artichokes, one medium sized artichoke is a good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium. Artichokes are low in sodium, they’re fat-free and contain only about 25 calories! So grab a couple today and treat yourself to the best.
Choose Artichokes that are heavy for their size. Much like asparagus, the freshest artichokes will make a rubbery squeak when given a light squeeze. Leaves on the artichoke should be tightly connected and not peeling away. The best artichokes will have a rounded crown with the tips pointing in. Artichokes may have a brownish scaling on the outside, this is normal and does not affect the taste.
The artichoke heart is the prize of the artichoke but don’t over look the leaves. Each leaf contains a bit of delicious flesh that is great for dipping.
Once you’ve gotten your artichokes home, apply a few drops of water to each artichoke and refrigerate in an a tightly sealed plastic bag. Stored this way, artichokes should last up to two weeks. Resist the urge to wash artichokes before storing.
- Rinse the artichokes and brush very gently with a soft vegetable brush.
- Using a sharp knife, remove about the top inch of artichoke and trim about a 1/2 inch off the stem. The entire stem except for the top 1/4 inch can be removed if necessary for plating or stuffing.
- Next, for certain varieties, use sharp kitchen shears to clip the remaining thorns off of the outer petals. Not necessary with the Lyon artichoke as the leaves are thorn-less.
- Place the artichokes in a large pot of salted boiling water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover tightly.
- Simmer the artichokes for 30-40 minutes or until a sharp knife easily slides into the base of the artichoke.
Eating an Artichoke
The best part about artichokes is that they’re great when enjoyed without much flair. After cooking the artichokes, set them upside down on a cooling rack or kitchen towel to drain and cool.
Once the artichokes have cooled slightly, they’re ready to eat. Start with the outer petals pulling them off one at a time and dipping the base of petal into melted butter, balsamic vinegar, hollandaise or aioli to name a few. After dipping, pull the base of the petal through your teeth to remove the soft flesh at the bottom. Dispose of each petal after enjoying the flesh.
Once you’ve removed all the petals, the bottom of the artichoke (The Choke and Heart) will remain. Carefully use a spoon to remove all the of the fuzzy choke at the center of the artichoke. Be sure to remove the entire fuzzy choke before consuming the heart.
What is left after removing the choke is the entirely edible artichoke heart. Cut the heart into bite-sized pieces, dip into your sauce and enjoy!