Monday, October 28, 2013

Help! Trapped by the Artichoke Triffids


Yikes! I have a giant crop of artichokes. This is not a bad thing, of course, but a couple of years ago I planted an artichoke plant in the front garden for its wonderful sculptural quality, having eaten very few artichokes in my life, and all of them in restaurants. Last year I worked out how to hack into their hearts and scoop out their chokes with a spoon. Yes, it felt like plant murder, but then, they look like triffids, so I thought I ought to show them who's boss before it is TOO LATE. This year I have at least a dozen giant artichokes, on plants six feet tall, with more baby ones on the way. Last year I filled a large jar with marinated artichoke hearts in oil, which is still splendidly intact a year later, because I can't think what to do with them. Soon I will have several more of the same, and then it will start to get embarrassing.

Help! What can I do with them? Recipes, I need recipes!


This is a photo of last year's crop, due to my ongoing lack of a camera. This year the plants are about two feet taller and two feet wider. I lie awake at night listening for the sinister rustling of artichokes trying to get in...

17 comments:

lucindasans said...

No help with the recipes, sorry. Only had artichokes on pizza.

But on the triffid front I can tell you that it is a lie perpetuated by the 1950s movie that salt water kills them. It doesn't. So if you hear a tapping sound, get a flame thrower. And keep track of exactly where you plant them.

Tammy said...

Artichoke plants look prehistoric. Your front garden now have a frightful quality to it! Perfect for Halloween!

Marinaded artichoke hearts are fabulous on salads and as a tasty surprise in a pasta dish. Yummy!

Heather said...

This is how we cook and eat our artichokes: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_cook_and_eat_an_artichoke/

It takes me about 45 minutes to cook ours. The link says to take a leaf from the outside to see if it is done, but I always take out a middle leaf to test. We cook one per person, so this may help you put a dent in your bounty.

theroadtoserendipity said...

You LUCKY thing you! The things I have to do just to get an artichoke to a few leaves is beyond belief here. Apparently they are delicious to every chook, feral native animal or dog (for urinating purposes, you need to find the TALLEST thing in the garden to make your mark...) and I have a dingy collection of rusted wire, tyres stacked 3 high and binoculars (used to sadly survey the rapidly diminishing artichokes that I foolishly planted out of barking range...sigh...) at our disposal but to no avail. Artichokes are a luxury that narf7 would love to have. They are fantastic in salads (marinated). Try slicing some of those gorgeous orbs and combining them with sliced tomato, avocado, some sliced meaty portions (probably chook) and if you are feeling a bit decadent (and lets face it, who isn't!) tuck a bit of camembert or brie in amongst the mix and lay it all reverently between 2 slices of Turkish bread (I would use the whole loaf but then I am a "gourmand" ;) ) and toast it till gorgeously lined and ready to chomp. Heaven! Use them with your favourite pasta sauce chopped into the mix. Sliced on top of pizzas, just eaten from the jar on forks...artichokes are heavenly things and if yours go to seed I would LOVE to get some seed from you (pretty please, kissy kissy...) ;). You need to dig into that jar of gorgeousness post haste because the thought of it sitting there uncaressed and unloved is making narf7 a sad panda :(

Linda said...

Add them to Salad Nicoise. Very tasty.

Jo said...

Lucinda, don't you worry, that was the first disaster novel I read as a twelve year old, and I re-read it obsessively until I was completely au fait with combating triffids..
Tammy, yes, dinosaur plants! I will spookily illuminate them to scare local children..
Heather, Linda, Fran, thanks so much for those ideas, will brave up and crack open the jar, and Fran, next time a mini artichoke plantlet appears, it's yours! Now you have a vegetable Fort Knox, all will be well.

Bek said...

Artichoke risotto!!! Uses up the biggest glut of artichokes and tastes delicious (if you like risotto). Other than that, I'd lightly cook the hearts and then fritter them. You could always put your preserved ones into your quiches...

e / dig in said...

oh jo, take the stress-free route: just let them go and enjoy the electric purple flowers in your garden!

lucindasans said...

Jo, it was my first disaster novel too. I then went on a Wyndham blitz - The Chrysalids being my next favourite and one a re-read just recently. I loved the Triffids' TV series that was on a while back.

Sorry, still now help with recipes. I'd go with e/dig in and le them flower. But that is probably not just for the beauty but from my laziness and not really knowing what to do with the vege.

startingfromscratch2013 said...

I grew up with my Nana preparing artichokes for us every winter. She just boiled them whole in salted water, and we pulled the leaves off one by one and dipped them in vinaigrette, until we got down to the choke. The best memories and the reason why I am growing (trying) them now.
Kali

Lynda D said...

I have never eaten one in my life. If you are looking for a Christmas present for Narf i think she's made it pretty clear where you can send your preserves. I have seen them in restaurants (where they know what they are doing) but i eat out so unfrequently that i dont want to waste the opportunity on something i dont like.

Youve got me all stirred up trying to be thrifty - i cant rest on my husbands laurels now can i. Wait for post.

Lynda D said...

Did i just type "unfrequently" WTF! Please replace with "infrequently" before i die of embarrassment. Im shocking at spelling.

Jo said...

Bek, more embarrassing confessions - I have never made a risotto! I could go the fritters though..
e, did that for the first two years I grew them, feeling 'wasted food' guilt now though...
Lucinda, I REALLY like Wyndham's novels. They are so practical. All doomers and preppers should read them. Have you read The Kraaken? Global sea rises (very topical, although this one caused by aliens), and the prescient wife of the narrator saves the day by cementing a year's worth of food under the BBQ, thereby saving it from looters. Love it. 1950s survivalist DIY.
Kali, that does seem to be the traditional way to go, and it seems so wasteful to just eat the heart. I'll give it a go (I seem to remember reading something about dipping in melted butter..)
I love that you have a wonderful nostalgic memory connected with artichokes.
Lynda, look forward to the thrifty post. I know you'll beat your husband hollow! And I love 'unfrenquently'. Makes much more sense. I'm totally leaving it!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

My favorite artichoke recipe involves marinated artichoke hearts. You cook up a bunch of rotini, then mix it with marinated art. hearts, mozzarella, red peppers, and genoa salami. Yum!

Lucky you to have those beautiful plants!

frances

Jo said...

Frances YUM! I had to look up rotini, OK so I know all the different shaped pasta has different names, but I have never paid much attention before. I just knew spaghetti, fettucine and penne. Well, now I can recognize rotini at 20 paces (well, 5, I'm a bit short sighted) and can tell you that my family's preferred pasta is called casarecce siciliane, a fact I've never known before, as I've just gone by the picture on the box!

thegreenbackyard said...

Cool! I have been pondering lately how one would re-create different literary gardens. Now I know how to do 'The Day of the Triffids' :)

Jo said...

Oooh, Jo, what a marvellous idea. Now we just need about ten acres.. and a more liberal budget..

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