We feature Baroda Farms green artichokes. These are known throughout the industry as “The New Perennial” because it is the first newly developed perennial in 79 years. It has outstanding flavor, large sizes, and large tender hearts. These are sold in the traditional artichoke cut or with “long stems”. Try them once and you too will see why the Lyon perennial artichoke is known as the premium California artichoke!
A native of the Mediterranean, the artichoke (cynara scolymus) is classified as a member of the sunflower family. Found in Greek legend, the artichoke was the name given as punishment to Cynara, a Greek Goddess, who was cast out from immortality for displeasing the sun god Zeus. The earliest we know of the artichoke is that it was originally grown in Italy and Sicily around 300 BC. Known as a delicacy to ancient Greeks and Romans, the artichoke was preserved in honey and vinegar, with cumin spices, to be enjoyed year round. In 800 AD, the artichoke was introduced in the Granada, Spain region by the North African Moors who identified and brought the plant from Sicily. The artichoke that we know today was developed in this region from 800 AD to 1500 AD. French immigrants, escaping the wrath of the French Revolution, brought the plant to the Louisiana Territory in 1806 and are credited for being the first to introduce the artichoke to the United States. Spaniard settlers brought the plant west in the late 1800’s to California where today nearly all the production of United States artichokes originates.
Select Lyons artichokes that are soft green with a tight leaf formation and those that feel heavy for their size. Browning of the tips can indicate age, but can also indicate frost damage. Fall and winter artichokes may be darker or bronze-tipped or have a whitish, blistered appearances cause by frost. Although not particularly desirable in appearance, many consider these to be the most tender and flavorful artichokes . Avoid artichokes which are wilting, drying or have mold. One tip for selection is to squeeze and listen for a squeak from the artichoke.
To store fresh artichokes at home, apply a few drops of water to each artichoke and refrigerate in an airtight plastic bag. Do not wash before storing. They should last up to two weeks if properly stored.