As an Artichoke Aficionado, you most likely love Artichokes for their distinct taste, ease of use and healthful benefits such as high amounts of fiber, protein and antioxidants, but did you know that now is the perfect time to begin cooking with the veggie? That’s because April marks the Artichoke’s prime growing season! In Castroville, Ocean Mist Farms is gearing up for a busy Artichoke season, and that means you can expect an abundance of the healthy vegetable in your local grocery store.
Understanding the different types of Artichokes that are available, as well as knowing some simple tips to selecting the right one at the grocery store can help make your Artichoke dining experience more enjoyable and delicious.
A good place to start when purchasing Artichokes is determining which size of Artichoke will work best for your cooking requirements. The following sizes can are available:
- Jumbo Artichokes are the largest variety available and are about the size of a softball.
- Large Artichokes are a little smaller than the Jumbo variety and can be best compared to a baseball.
- Medium Artichokes look more like a tennis ball.
- Baby Artichokes are the smallest of the bunch and are the size of a golf ball. These chokes are perfect for pasta dishes and snacks, as they can be eaten whole.
Once you have determined which size you need, you can begin the Artichoke selection process. The easiest way to pick a good choke is by picking it up and feeling its weight. The best Artichokes will be heavier than the rest. You will also want to check for firmness. Firmer Artichokes are the most delicious! Once you find an Artichoke that is firm and heavy, you should begin to examine the exterior of the vegetable. You should always pick an Artichoke that has a nice, green color that looks fresh, unless it is between the months of December to February, when Frost-Kissed Artichokes are in season. Paying attention to the center leaves can also help you pick the perfect Artichoke. The best ones will have center leaves that are compact.