Cardoon Flower Stalks

 

Cardoon is not just a gorgeous plant for your landscape, it’s delectably edible!

Cardoon Plant
Cardoon plant with flower stalk

 

If you love artichokes, you’ll love cardoon flower stalks.  I’ve been patiently waiting for our cardoon to start flowering, and now it’s putting out very thick stalks with thistle like heads on them (but not blooming).

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Cardoon flower stalk with leaves removed

The flower stalks are much sweeter, and easier to prepare than the leaf stems.  I cut the stalks as far down as I can, some are 2-3 feet.

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Crossection of cardoon stalk

Now, you have to work a little to get to the sweet inner core, because the outer layer of the stalk is thick and fibrous.  When you cut it, look at the cross section, the inner core is what you want, everything else is peeled away.  If you’ve peeled an artichoke stem, it’s very similar.

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Peeled cardoon stalks

After the outer layer is peeled away, I cut the remaining inner core into sections, place it in water with garlic, salt, and extra virgin olive oil.  It’s simmered about 30 minutes, or until tender.  It’s scrumptious, and as good as any artichoke I’ve had.

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Peeled, cut, and cooked cardoon stalks