Cynara scolymus L., the globe artichoke, is a perennial of the Asteraceae (Compositae) family.
The artichoke is a member of the thistle family; the edible part is the plant is a flower bud. Grown by Thomas Jefferson in Monticello in 1770, he used “artichoke” as a keyword in his cipher (coded messages) to protect prying eyes from important messages with Meriwether Lewis…later to be known of Lewis and Clark fame.
The artichoke, even in its best state, is never the most beautiful item out of the box. It is common to see some russeting or some rub damage. When the temperatures start to dip, you may also see some frost damage, which you can think of as a reverse sunburn. Don’t pass them by! Beauty is skin deep, and these are all external cosmetic problems, which are usually mitigated during cooking by either plunging into boiling water, roasting, or grilling–all of which disguise that cosmetic issue.
Artichokes should be heavy for their size and fairly compact. The recommended optimum storage temperature is 32° – 40°F. They are not chill sensitive, so keep them as cold as possible to retain shelf life. Keep them covered to avoid dehydration. We recommend you store them in the front part of your cooler (near the door). The temperature fluctuates from the front to the back of the cooler due to the location of the cooling unit and frequency of the door being opened. Download our PDF for more cooler storage hints.
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