Grow to Love .... Globe Artichoke

Grow to Love... Globe Artichoke

Why love... Globe Artichoke?


Feeling adventurous? Put a thistle on the menu…. no I’m serious.

The globe artichoke is the bud of a large member of the thistle family, grown for its sweet, fleshy base (or heart) and soft leaves surrounding the base. 

It may look about as edible as a cactus, but with a bit of care and patience the fleshy hearts are a joy and their leaves dipped in butter are exquisite.

Get ahead of the crowd by discovering it. Although seldom seen outside swish restaurants in the UK, it’s a real traditional delicacy in France, Italy and Spain, while it’s also popular in California.

Did you know?


  • The ‘choke’ part of the plant at the centre of the bud is inedible as are the stem and the older tougher leaves.
  • The Romans considered the artichoke a delicacy and in 2ndcentury AD it was the most expensive garden vegetable available.
  • In California’s Monterey County, Castroville proclaims itself the artichoke centre of the world and holds an annual festival to honour them.

Top tips


  • Feeling adventurous? Experiment with a globe artichoke by adding it to stews, salads, soups and pasta dishes.
  • To eat the leaves, pull off the stem by hand and boil the bud whole. When it is tender, drain and eat the soft leaves – they go great with hollandaise sauce or butter.
  • To get to the heart, remove all the leaves, slice off the base and scoop out the hairy ‘choke’ with a spoon. Make sure the heart doesn’t oxidise by storing in water with lemon juice before cooking. It’s delicate, nutty and good for your liver.
  • Marinate the heart in olive oil, add to an Italian risotto or after steaming cut into chunks and add to salads.

Recipe suggestions

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