General Information: Cardoons look like giant bunches of celery, with a wild hairy appearance. Only the inner most part of the stalk on large plants is tender enough to eat. Discard the hard outer portion. Cardoons are closely related to the artichoke, and are sometimes referred to as Spanish Artichokes. They are a main Northern Italian Fall and Winter vegetable ingredient, usually in combination with the famous ‘bagna calda’ dish.

Season: October – January

Purchasing Tips: Avoid product that sags, is limp in any way, has brown patches, or if the interior is hollow. These are all signs of over ripeness. Cardoons should be firm with a silvery gray-green color.

Storage: 1-2 days in a dark and cool location, or if you have room in your refrigerator, store them for up 4 days.

Cooking Tips: Remove the tough outer fiber with a vegetable peeler. Cut them into 3- or 4-inch (8-10 cm) pieces and keep them in acidulated water. Parboil for 15-20 minutes in salty water with a lemon. After this blanching process, they can be consumed, or further cooked by sautéing, baking, or deep-frying.

Nutritional Info: Cardoons are naturally high in sodium. They are good providers of potassium, calcium, and iron.

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