Wondering “What Is an Artichoke and How Do I Eat It?”

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Wondering “What Is an Artichoke and How Do I Eat It?”

February 6, 2024
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Wondering “What Is an Artichoke and How Do I Eat It?”

Wondering “What Is an Artichoke and How Do I Eat It?”

So what is an artichoke exactly? This quirky yet fascinating vegetable often leaves people intrigued, slightly baffled, and perhaps a little choked up too (pun intended). Artichokes are incredibly popular throughout the nation, and nowhere more so than in California. In fact, they’re our official state vegetable. So get ready to dig in as we get to the heart of the matter and answer all of your most pressing questions.

Field of Ocean Mist artichokes in Castroville, CA

What Is An Artichoke Anyway?

Let’s get down to basics. An artichoke is – get this – a type of thistle belonging to the sunflower family. It’s got a unique look and an equally intriguing taste. Originally from the Mediterranean, they are now one of an elite group of 19 domestically grown fruits, vegetables, and nuts that are ONLY grown in the Golden State.*

*This means California grows 99%+ of the available commercially produced crop in the United States. Statics according to the CDFA

Are Artichokes Vegetables Or Flowers?

An artichoke is a vegetable. The part that you eat, however, is not actually a vegetable, but a flower bud!


When Are Artichokes In Season In California?

In California, artichokes are always in season! From March to May and again in October, fresh artichokes are at their prime, flaunting the best in flavor and texture. It’s the perfect time to celebrate and savor them at their peak. However, you can enjoy them all year round by using canned, jarred, and frozen artichokes throughout the rest of the year.

Farmworkers harvesting artichokes wearing canastas at Ocean Mist Farms

How Are Artichokes Harvested?

Artichoke harvesting requires a keen eye and a specialized skill set. Crew members evaluate artichokes for size quickly, and then in one fell swoop, slice the choke from its thick stem and toss it over their back into a special backpack called a canasta.

Click here to learn more about how artichokes are grown and harvested in California.

If you are planning on enjoying fresh artichokes when they are available, it’s important for you to know how to prep them from start to finish.

How to prep an artichoke

How To Prep A Fresh Artichoke

Prepping fresh artichokes can be an intimidating task when you have never done it before, but the process is quite simple. Meg of This Mess is Ours has broken down everything you need to know from start to finish.

The only question left after you prep them is how you will cook them. Oven-roasted, steamed, grilled, or even microwaved (yes, you can microwave a fresh artichoke) are all great choices!

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.


An Artichoke Recipe For Every Month Of The Year

Now that you know that you can enjoy artichokes all year long, we’ve prepared an artichoke recipe planning companion to put all of your new knowledge and techniques to the test. Prepare to indulge in 12 of the most delicious recipes we’ve ever tasted.

Lemon-Laced Artichoke Cupcakes next to a bowl of artichoke hearts.

January: Lemon-laced Artichoke Cupcakes

Our Lemon-Laced Artichoke Cupcakes are quick and easy to make with no special equipment needed!

Canned artichokes packed in water shine in these subtly spiced cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Honestly, these spiced cupcakes are equally as delicious on their own as breakfast as they are iced as dessert.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
A baking pan fresh out of the oven filled with A Classic Artichoke and Spinach Dip Recipe. There are crackers and mini bell peppers for dipping.

February: Artichoke and Spinach Dip 

Be game day ready with our classic Artichoke and Spinach Dip recipe.

Canned artichokes and frozen spinach are true winter warriors that come together almost effortlessly in this recipe that is sure to be a fan favorite.

Pro tip: Use any leftover dip to make our Artichoke and Spinach Dip Stuffed Chicken Breasts.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
this is how to cook artichokes, steamed

March: Fool-proof Artichokes with Three Dipping Sauces

Our recipe for Fool-Proof Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Sauce, Yogurt Herb Sauce, and Butter Chive Sauce is a delicious way to kick off fresh artichoke season. Good luck choosing a favorite dipping sauce though; no matter how many times we make this recipe we can’t pick a favorite.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
Stuffed Artichokes

April: California Stuffed Artichokes

This California-Inspired Stuffed Artichoke recipe is the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of spring! This recipe is loaded with lemon, garlic, butter, and wine and is hearty enough to eat like a meal, but also party-perfect when you have guests over.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
Artichoke Cake from Baking the Goods

May: Fresh Artichoke Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

It doesn’t get much more California than this Artichoke Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting from Baking the Goods made with fresh artichokes!

Artichoke and olive oil give this cake an earthy richness and decadent, custardy texture. Then a light and airy lemony cream cheese frosting crowns the cake in a stunning blooming artichoke design.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

June: Pesto Artichoke Asparagus Pasta

This lovely Pesto Artichoke Asparagus Pasta from Kate’s Best Recipes is as irresistible as it gets, with asparagus shaved so thin it blends right in with the spaghetti! There are bites of artichoke hearts and a punchy basil-almond pesto sauce too. It’s a recipe you’ll want to use over and over again.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
Olive and Wild Rice Salad

July: Olive and Wild Rice Salad with Artichoke Hearts

Here in California, it’s always salad season – which means we have a lot of great salad recipes we know you’ll love.

This Olive and Wild Rice Salad recipe is chock-full of always-in-season staple ingredients like jarred red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and marinated artichoke hearts, as well as both green and black California Ripe Olives.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
A Simple Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Recipe

August: Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

This recipe is a great back-to-school dinner idea for hectic weeknights. Our Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake is easy to make, tastes great, and is loaded with ingredients that are available from California year-round.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

September: One-Pot Lemon-Garlic Basil Artichoke Chicken

This one-pot recipe from Aida of Salt & Wind is delicious any time of year! The secret to this One-Pot Lemon-Garlic Basil Artichoke Chicken recipe is to cook the lemons and garlic in olive oil before adding in the chicken, grilled and marinated artichoke hearts, and loads of basil.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

October: Herbaceous Roasted Fresh Artichoke

Roasting is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to prepare this vegetable. These tasty thistles get a bad rap for being intimidating to cook, but we promise our oven-roasted method is easy. Plus, our Herbaceous Roasted Artichoke recipe requires fewer dishes and hands-on prep time than steaming or boiling methods.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

November: Creamy Artichoke Soup

Transport your taste buds to the California Central Coast with this easy recipe using canned artichoke hearts inspired by the Creamy Artichoke Soup at the world-famous Shadowbrook Restaurant in Santa Cruz, California.

This soup recipe from our friends at California Wines is rich and decadent with a luxurious mouthfeel, and it is quite possibly one of the easiest soup recipes you will ever cook at home. 

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

December: Crispy Baked Spinach and Artichoke-Stuffed Cauliflower

Get ready for this showstopper of a recipe from Big Delicious Life! A whole head of cauliflower is stuffed with a cheesy spinach and artichoke filling, topped with crispy parmesan Panko breadcrumbs, and baked to golden brown perfection. This creative and delicious vegetable dish makes a stunning presentation at the holiday table – or any time of the year.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

BE SURE TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE ARTICHOKE RECIPES WITH US BY SNAPPING A PIC AND TAGGING US ON SOCIAL USING #CAGROWN. LET’S CELEBRATE THE BOUNTY OF CALIFORNIA TOGETHER.

Craving more CA GROWN goodness? Follow us on Pinterest for fresh and fabulous recipe inspiration!

Click here to view the Google Web Story for this post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

« Back to CA Grown Blog

Wondering “What Is an Artichoke and How Do I Eat It?”

So what is an artichoke exactly? This quirky yet fascinating vegetable often leaves people intrigued, slightly baffled, and perhaps a little choked up too (pun intended). Artichokes are incredibly popular throughout the nation, and nowhere more so than in California. In fact, they’re our official state vegetable. So get ready to dig in as we get to the heart of the matter and answer all of your most pressing questions.

Field of Ocean Mist artichokes in Castroville, CA

What Is An Artichoke Anyway?

Let’s get down to basics. An artichoke is – get this – a type of thistle belonging to the sunflower family. It’s got a unique look and an equally intriguing taste. Originally from the Mediterranean, they are now one of an elite group of 19 domestically grown fruits, vegetables, and nuts that are ONLY grown in the Golden State.*

*This means California grows 99%+ of the available commercially produced crop in the United States. Statics according to the CDFA

Are Artichokes Vegetables Or Flowers?

An artichoke is a vegetable. The part that you eat, however, is not actually a vegetable, but a flower bud!


When Are Artichokes In Season In California?

In California, artichokes are always in season! From March to May and again in October, fresh artichokes are at their prime, flaunting the best in flavor and texture. It’s the perfect time to celebrate and savor them at their peak. However, you can enjoy them all year round by using canned, jarred, and frozen artichokes throughout the rest of the year.

Farmworkers harvesting artichokes wearing canastas at Ocean Mist Farms

How Are Artichokes Harvested?

Artichoke harvesting requires a keen eye and a specialized skill set. Crew members evaluate artichokes for size quickly, and then in one fell swoop, slice the choke from its thick stem and toss it over their back into a special backpack called a canasta.

Click here to learn more about how artichokes are grown and harvested in California.

If you are planning on enjoying fresh artichokes when they are available, it’s important for you to know how to prep them from start to finish.

How to prep an artichoke

How To Prep A Fresh Artichoke

Prepping fresh artichokes can be an intimidating task when you have never done it before, but the process is quite simple. Meg of This Mess is Ours has broken down everything you need to know from start to finish.

The only question left after you prep them is how you will cook them. Oven-roasted, steamed, grilled, or even microwaved (yes, you can microwave a fresh artichoke) are all great choices!

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.


An Artichoke Recipe For Every Month Of The Year

Now that you know that you can enjoy artichokes all year long, we’ve prepared an artichoke recipe planning companion to put all of your new knowledge and techniques to the test. Prepare to indulge in 12 of the most delicious recipes we’ve ever tasted.

Lemon-Laced Artichoke Cupcakes next to a bowl of artichoke hearts.

January: Lemon-laced Artichoke Cupcakes

Our Lemon-Laced Artichoke Cupcakes are quick and easy to make with no special equipment needed!

Canned artichokes packed in water shine in these subtly spiced cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Honestly, these spiced cupcakes are equally as delicious on their own as breakfast as they are iced as dessert.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
A baking pan fresh out of the oven filled with A Classic Artichoke and Spinach Dip Recipe. There are crackers and mini bell peppers for dipping.

February: Artichoke and Spinach Dip 

Be game day ready with our classic Artichoke and Spinach Dip recipe.

Canned artichokes and frozen spinach are true winter warriors that come together almost effortlessly in this recipe that is sure to be a fan favorite.

Pro tip: Use any leftover dip to make our Artichoke and Spinach Dip Stuffed Chicken Breasts.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
this is how to cook artichokes, steamed

March: Fool-proof Artichokes with Three Dipping Sauces

Our recipe for Fool-Proof Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Sauce, Yogurt Herb Sauce, and Butter Chive Sauce is a delicious way to kick off fresh artichoke season. Good luck choosing a favorite dipping sauce though; no matter how many times we make this recipe we can’t pick a favorite.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
Stuffed Artichokes

April: California Stuffed Artichokes

This California-Inspired Stuffed Artichoke recipe is the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of spring! This recipe is loaded with lemon, garlic, butter, and wine and is hearty enough to eat like a meal, but also party-perfect when you have guests over.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
Artichoke Cake from Baking the Goods

May: Fresh Artichoke Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

It doesn’t get much more California than this Artichoke Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting from Baking the Goods made with fresh artichokes!

Artichoke and olive oil give this cake an earthy richness and decadent, custardy texture. Then a light and airy lemony cream cheese frosting crowns the cake in a stunning blooming artichoke design.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

June: Pesto Artichoke Asparagus Pasta

This lovely Pesto Artichoke Asparagus Pasta from Kate’s Best Recipes is as irresistible as it gets, with asparagus shaved so thin it blends right in with the spaghetti! There are bites of artichoke hearts and a punchy basil-almond pesto sauce too. It’s a recipe you’ll want to use over and over again.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
Olive and Wild Rice Salad

July: Olive and Wild Rice Salad with Artichoke Hearts

Here in California, it’s always salad season – which means we have a lot of great salad recipes we know you’ll love.

This Olive and Wild Rice Salad recipe is chock-full of always-in-season staple ingredients like jarred red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and marinated artichoke hearts, as well as both green and black California Ripe Olives.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.
A Simple Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Recipe

August: Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

This recipe is a great back-to-school dinner idea for hectic weeknights. Our Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake is easy to make, tastes great, and is loaded with ingredients that are available from California year-round.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

September: One-Pot Lemon-Garlic Basil Artichoke Chicken

This one-pot recipe from Aida of Salt & Wind is delicious any time of year! The secret to this One-Pot Lemon-Garlic Basil Artichoke Chicken recipe is to cook the lemons and garlic in olive oil before adding in the chicken, grilled and marinated artichoke hearts, and loads of basil.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

October: Herbaceous Roasted Fresh Artichoke

Roasting is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to prepare this vegetable. These tasty thistles get a bad rap for being intimidating to cook, but we promise our oven-roasted method is easy. Plus, our Herbaceous Roasted Artichoke recipe requires fewer dishes and hands-on prep time than steaming or boiling methods.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

November: Creamy Artichoke Soup

Transport your taste buds to the California Central Coast with this easy recipe using canned artichoke hearts inspired by the Creamy Artichoke Soup at the world-famous Shadowbrook Restaurant in Santa Cruz, California.

This soup recipe from our friends at California Wines is rich and decadent with a luxurious mouthfeel, and it is quite possibly one of the easiest soup recipes you will ever cook at home. 

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

December: Crispy Baked Spinach and Artichoke-Stuffed Cauliflower

Get ready for this showstopper of a recipe from Big Delicious Life! A whole head of cauliflower is stuffed with a cheesy spinach and artichoke filling, topped with crispy parmesan Panko breadcrumbs, and baked to golden brown perfection. This creative and delicious vegetable dish makes a stunning presentation at the holiday table – or any time of the year.

Click here to make this recipe with California artichokes.

BE SURE TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE ARTICHOKE RECIPES WITH US BY SNAPPING A PIC AND TAGGING US ON SOCIAL USING #CAGROWN. LET’S CELEBRATE THE BOUNTY OF CALIFORNIA TOGETHER.

Craving more CA GROWN goodness? Follow us on Pinterest for fresh and fabulous recipe inspiration!

Click here to view the Google Web Story for this post!

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