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|Life's A Choke Farms|
Lyon artichokes are the most imposing of all artichoke varieties, weighing in at an average of 1-2 pounds each. Its appearance is bold, its sharply tapered, thorned leaves forming a tight rounded floret. The most edible part of the Lyon artichoke is its heart. Its size qualifies it to have more heart than any other artichoke. When cooked the heart is sweet and nutty with notes of barley and butter.
Lyon artichokes are available in the spring and fall.
The Lyon artichoke, Gros Vert de Laon, botanical name Cyrnara scolymus, is the immature flower head of an herbaceous perennial thistle plant and member of the Aster, Asteraceae family, also known as the Compositae family. When you eat an artichoke, you are eating in essence a flower bud. The first mature harvest of artichokes is known as the Kings, as it produces the largest-sized florets. Subsequent production will produce smaller flowering heads. Almost all parts of the artichoke plant are rendered useful. The leaves produce an extract that was historically substituted for quinine. They have also been used as a substitute for hops in beer making. The entire plant is used as feedstock and turned into the soil as organic matter.
Artichokes are inherently high in fiber and low in calories. They are loaded with nutrients and phytochemicals known to contribute to the prevention of certain types of heart disease, cancer, and birth defects.
The Lyon artichoke is substantial enough that it can be used for several applications. It can be steamed and braised. It should be partially steamed just to infuse it with enough moisture prior to roasting or grilling. Though the leaves are edible, the artichoke can be trimmed down to the heart and bottom. The artichoke hearts should be stored in a brine solution of water, lemon juice and sea salt prior to cooking to prevent the flesh from browning. Cooked artichoke hearts can be pureed into sauces and soups. They can also be used in salads, as a pizza topping or pasta ingredient. Complimentary pairings include citrus, garlic, olives and olive oil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, chiles, bacon, proscuitto, poultry, truffles, morels, and woodsy mushrooms, cheeses such as feta, chevre and pecorino, pistachios, pine nuts, pepitas, red wine and balsamic vinegar and salad greens such as mesclin, arugula and butter lettuce.
During the 16th century, artichokes were found in Royal gardens in Lyon and Cavaillon, France, rendering the artichoke of the period a true luxury item for the upper echelons of society.
The name artichoke, is a grammatical descendant of the ancient Spanish word alcarchofa, which in turn came from the Arabic al harsuf. This etymology reflects the origin of the artichoke as the Iberian Peninsula, which was in 12th century Islamic Andalusia. The Romans are credited with cultivating artichokes as an edible plant but it became all but forgotten and disdained during the Dark Ages. It wasn't until the 16th Century that the artichoke became a relevant food plant once again. One plant can sustain prolific harvests for several years until it eventually will stop producing. The Lyon artichoke comes from an extensive breeding program in France. It flourishes in the agricultural landscape of coastal marine regions with cool, foggy summer mornings.
Recipes that include Lyon Artichokes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Pinch My Salt||Whole Roasted Garlicy Artichokes|
|Columbus Food Adventures||Artichokes Three Ways|
|A Veggie Venture||Simple Microwave Artichokes|
|Food Blogga||How to Clean, Cook, and Eat an Artichoke|
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