University of Maryland Extension

Featured Plants - Cardoon

Cardoon - Photo by Bob Orazi

Cynara cardunculus

Some cooks describe cardoon as celery with armor. The edible portion of this artichoke family member is the leaf stalk rather than the flower bud. The bright, silver-grey leaf stalks taste like artichokes and are popular in Mediterranean recipes for soups, pastas, or bagna cauda. Even so attractive they can be used in floral decoration. Plant transplants at least 2‘ apart in full sun and moist but well drained soil with sufficient organic matter. Cardoon is grown as an annual, though it is perennial in zones 6-10. Blanching the leaves 3-4 weeks before harvest produces a more tender stalk. For optimum flavor, prevent blooming. Never let the thistle-like seed invade gardens. When preparing cardoon, prevent browning by immersing the peeled cut stems in a lemon bath, then parboil for 30 minutes.

April 2013

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