The globe artichoke is related to the thistle. Its leaves are eaten, along with the bottom part of the flower. It makes a delicious starter or lunch ,simply boiled whole and served with melted butter, or a vinaigrette for dipping the leaves into. Break off each leaf and draw the soft fleshy base through your teeth.
I knew it had to be related to something nasty! I think it is the armadillo of the vegetable world, almost daring you to eat it. We have them growing around some of the allotments, I don't, as they have never appealed to me as a vegetable. There is one big violet tipped one on the patch next to ours and most of the others are 'babies' off of this! They seem to take root and grow at a tremendous rate.
The lady who has that patch told me to take one and try it out,which I did! I used a very basic recipe, just boiled in water with lemon juice for about 20 minutes. I also bought the real butter...Kerrygold.. as it is salted and melted some of this. When the artichoke was cooked I just pulled off the leaves and dipped them in the butter. The outer ones did not have much flesh but the inner ones were actually very tasty! It seemed like a lot of work for a light lunch but I would certainly try them again.
So I will be on the lookout for recipes. They need not be just for the vegetable patch either as they could be an eyecatching specimen in any garden! In the photo it is to the left and is quite a big plant (around 4 feet high) as can be seen in comparison to the scarecrow embryo! It dies back in winter and then grows at a great rate in Spring and early summer. This one is producing a lot of artichokes, as the mature ones are cut off more are coming on. It is also growing and producing without any human interference as this allotment was idle for a couple of years and the plant survived. I read somewhere that the artchokes cannot be used for the first year, all the flowers should be removed before anything develops otherwise the artichokes will be small and hard and inedible.