The Q&A Archives: Bitter Artichokes

Question: This is my second year artichoke crop. They have been very productive. This year some of them are bitter. What did I do or what can I do? I did not cut them to the ground last fall. Could that be my problem?

Answer: Not cutting back your plants should have no effect on the flavor of the 'chokes. I suspect the plants were watered irregularly or 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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