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Cardoon Comparison — 8 Comments

  1. Hi, I have been growing cardoons for 6 years now. I tried several times to rap them for blanching but they ended up with so much damage on the stems as they cracked and bugs did extra damage too. So I have resorted to harvesting them and soaking in water and vinegar several times during the day and then boiling in water… then canning them in water, salt and garlic. I just love them! I am going to try to try blanching again next year using straw and lightly tying them up… you only need to block sun light. I think I get a lot of damage because of heat. The Cardoon plant is very upright is cooler weather but spreads out when it is hot so tying them up tight was a problem for me. I hope to hear from you about how things work out with your blanching.

    • J > I wish I’d had your insights earlier this year – in particular about the spreading. I haven’t yet done a follow-up post about this, because last year, when we got home from Navarra, a storm had completely trashed the cardoon plants – the supports weren’t strong enough. I am away in Navarra now (land of amazing cardoons!), but when i get home i will report on success or failure! Incidentally, i notice that the huge cardoons grown here are not made pale by blanching, but rather the stems don’t have that grey/silvery sheen that ours have in Scotland. Thanks again for your comments – and very interesting information.

      • I would love to go and see cardoons growing some ware, I am seeing a great deal of variety in my plants. Some have really fat leaves and some are thin and spiny looking. Some of mine have a lot of actual spines and the two I got from Spain have hardly any. I had one that had some purple on the stocks but I hate that one!! It is smaller like an artichoke plant and the stems leading to the flower are just like wood and never soften when you cook them. Next year I will try to blanch in the spring and the fall when it is not as hot. during the summer I soak in vinegar water like I have been doing. I look forward to hearing your updates

  2. I’m interested to see how they turn out. Being perennial, you could also try blanching them next spring before they lflower? I have one cardoon that comes back year after year. i love the colour of the flowers – electric purple!

  3. So amazing! I love the comparison pictures!

    I hadn’t realized the stems are also edible, kinda like broccoli. I hope wrapping them in fabric will help keep them tender. I would imagine they might have the tendency to be very tough and coarse, like trying to chew on wooden pencils. Yes, blanching would have to be key in eating them, along with the fabric wrap.

    I wonder how the chopped up cooked stems would taste in an omelette, along with some diced onion, tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, and shredded cheese.

    • D > I wonder too : I’ll have to try. I’m sure the cardoon that comes in the jars would work. I hope ours turn out similar : but perhaps that’s just wishful thinking!

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