The Q&A Archives: Hard Artichokes

Question: We planted some artichokes and they came out fine. Until we cooked them. They were very hard and inedible. What did we do wrong? They are the edible kind, and we haven't had this problem before.

Answer: It's possible that your artichokes were harvested too early. Artichoke plants are perennials. As they grow and mature, they produce larger and larger 'chokes. You may have harvested judging by size rather than maturity. Artichokes should be harvested just as the bottom petals begin to spread, but while the rest of the bud is still fairly tight. You should be able to feel the artichoke 'give' a little when you squeeze it in your hand. This indicates the petals have begun to relax and separate. Better luck with your next crop!

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