Artichokes: Why They Make Me Wonder
Updated: Feb 1, 2019
Somehow I managed to coast through the first 25 years of life without cleaning, chopping, and preparing an artichoke.
After spending a significant amount of time buried in the depths of instructional youtube videos, I deemed myself able.
So I set to work and began to clean My Very First Artichoke. As the water poured over its sides, I thought of the vegetable's heritage: A variety of the thistle in the sunflower family. The edible portion of the plant is made up of flower buds that have not yet blossomed and is protected by the thick, rough exterior - whose green/brown color is rather unpleasant to the eye.
After scrubbing the dirt off of the vegetable, I took a pair of scissors to the thorns of the outer leaves and began to snip the sharp barbs off. Only the pith where these leaves attach is edible and tasty.
Next, I dug through my drawer for a peeler and began to peel off the stringy outer layer of the stem. Slowly a beautiful, light green color began to emerge.
But don't be fooled. When the cell walls of the artichoke are cut or crushed, the enzymes react to the air and begin to produce discoloration. Thus, the need to quickly soothe this irritable vegetable. I sliced a lemon in half and began rubbing the artichoke down and saturating it in the citrusy acid.
After all this cleaning, trimming, and peeling, I was finally ready to slice the artichoke in half. I chopped it quite impatiently (this was taking much longer than anticipated), but I was not prepared for the beauty of the colors within.
A slow fade from dark to light green to yellow and then to a vibrant pink. The softest, finest petal-like leaves. I carefully plucked away at these filaments - all protecting the heart - the most sought after and succulent part of the artichoke.
Immediately, all kinds of thoughts flew into my mind.
I thought of the people in my life who have hard exteriors, but gooey soft insides waiting to be discovered.
I considered the importance of protecting what is true and dear and saturating our lives with those truths.
I wondered at the intricate details of this thistle that literally grows from the dirt and has the ability to feed and sustain life.
Then I thought about the access we have to simple, natural ingredients and the opportunity to use those ingredients to make delicious things.
And that is what excites me about this industry: Using what we can find in the world around us to create something and share it. Together, my brother, his wife, my husband, and I are very eager to do just that through this project.