Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I have artichokes growing!

I have 3 artichokes growing on one plant in my weedy garden!

I didn't believe it was possible in my 5B zone, but sometimes I try to push the envelope anyway. The summer before last, I bought 2 artichoke seedlings about 4" tall from a big box store. One was dead within a week, but the other one seemed to thrive.

Everything I read said the artichoke makes fruit in it's second year, which was last summer for this plant. Mine produced nothing last summer, and in fact I was surprised it survived the winter. However, I let it grow anyway.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I discovered it now has 3 artichokes growing on it! I just hope they grow large enough to harvest.

My favorite way to eat them is boiled, cooled, and leaf tips dipped in a quick blender bernaise. (Not an original recipe by me, but I've had it at least 10 years. It's really GOOD!)

Blender Bernaise

Makes 3/4 to 1 cup

2 tablespoons white wine
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
2 teaspoons chopped shallots
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Combine wine, vinegar, tarragon, shallots and pepper in a small skillet. Bring to a boil and cook rapidly until almost all liquid disappears. In a small saucepan, heat the butter to bubbling but DO NOT brown.

Place egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in a blender; cover, and flick on and off gradually until mixture is combined. With the blender on low, gradually add the hot butter. Add the herb mixture and blend on high speed for about 4 seconds.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. May refrigerate but cover with plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming.


  1. I've grown artichokes here for 20 years. The key here, where they are an annual, is for them to get 3 weeks of 50F weather, so they set buds. It didn't happen this year, so I doubt I'll get many, or any.

    And I'm going to try the bernaise sauce, next time we have some!!

    1. Pam, how wonderful to be growing them for so long. Wish I had tried sooner. Yesterday the grocery store had them for $3.99 each and they looked beat-up.

      What time of the year do they need that temp. to set buds?

    2. Very early on. Here where last frost is May 31, I'd be trying for the 50's during April. This year April was 1st week: COLD, 2nd week: 80's, 3rd week rainy and 60's, and lastly 80's again. Last year I got the 3 weeks just fine and had 20 - 30 chokes from 5 plants.

    3. Thanks. I may plant a few for upcoming years, IF I can find plants.

  2. I am totally imppressed! I have never seen an artichoke plant let alone grown one. They do look tasty.... Thanks for a fun post.


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