Exclusive to Prince de Bretagne’s market gardeners, these mild, sweet artichokes are notable for their purple colour, ‘closed’ head and less thorny leaves.

400 à 600 g

Weight

Mai - Nov.

Saison

Harvested

by hand

France’s number 1

artichoke producer

Season

  • Peak season
  • Available
  • Not available
Jan.
Feb.
Mar.
Apr.
May
June
July
Aug.
Sept.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.

Did you know?

Cardinal is a new variety of fleshy artichoke exclusive to Prince de Bretagne’s market gardeners. It is notable for its purple colour, ‘closed’ head and less thorny leaves. Its mild and sweet flavour has been tested by consumers and is recognised by them.

The artichoke belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is one of the rare crops where the flower bud is eaten: what we know as the heart. The flower bud (heart) is surrounded by bracts (or leaves), the bottom ends of which are edible.

Artichokes are cultivated entirely manually. They require 250 to 300 hours of work per hectare (compared to eight hours per hectare for cereal crops) and eight passes per plot for harvesting. Plants remain in the ground for three years. At harvest time, market gardeners cut the heads one by one by hand, using a knife, when they reach maturity. After harvesting each year, artichokes are cut back to ground level and a new clump then forms, with the market gardeners selecting a single shoot (a ‘sucker’) by hand. Each sucker produces a large central artichoke (called the ‘mother’) and several smaller ones on the sides (the ‘wings’). Numerous passages for mechanical weeding using hoes are conducted in the fields throughout the year.

Interview with a market gardener
Interview with a market gardener

Cooking tips

HOW TO CHOOSE CARDINAL ARTICHOKES

Cardinal artichokes should have a striking purple colour, as their name suggests. Artichoke heads should be heavy, free of blemishes and its leaves brittle and tight.

 

HOW TO PREPARE CARDINAL ARTICHOKES

To avoid oxidation, just before cooking start by breaking the stalk at its base and not cutting it: breaking the stalk makes it possible to extract the fibres that connect it to the heart. Then wash the artichoke.

And for the more expert, you can extract the heart of the artichoke as you prepare it:

How to turn an artichoke

HOW TO COOK CARDINAL ARTICHOKES

Cardinal artichokes offer a very pleasant, sweet flavour, with fruity, even floral, notes. Several cooking methods are possible for Cardinal artichokes:

30 to 40 mins

In boiling water

20 to 30 mins

Steam cooking (pressure cooker)

9 to 11 mins

In the microwave

1 hour

In the oven

And to tell if it’s done, pull off one of the leaves. If it comes off easily your artichoke is ready to enjoy!

Microwave cooking with an Articook 

Preparing and cooking artichokes
Preparing and cooking artichokes

HOW TO STORE CARDINAL ARTICHOKES

All producers will tell you that artichokes are best a few days after harvest, even when a little withered. They can be stored for a few days in a cool place away from the light. You can also submerge the stem like a flower in a vase. Do not cut the stalk before storage as it protects the artichoke from oxidation.

Artichokes can also be frozen, though they should first be blanched in water to which lemon juice has been added.

Cooking suggestions

Cooked artichokes can be eaten in many ways, both as an aperitif and a main course.

As an aperitif, for example, you can dip the leaves in different sauces (vinaigrette, mayonnaise, yogurt with herbs and spices etc.) or transform the hearts into caviar! As a main course, they can be eaten  whole, stuffed or the cooked hearts can be used in vegetarian recipes (au gratin with cheese) or with meat or fish (tagine, stir-fries, pizza etc.).

Chef’s tip

Add a few drops of lemon or even a slice of lemon to the cooking water as this will maintain the artichoke’s colour and prevent the heart from darkening during cooking.

Nutrition

Artichokes offer numerous health benefits. They are high in fibre and potassium, and also a source of vitamin B9 (folic acid).

Energy (kj/kcal) 240/58
Fat (g) 0.3
of which saturated fat (g) 0.1
Carbohydrate (g)

5

of which sugar (g) 13
Dietary fibre (g) 12.4

Protein (g)

2.6
Salt (g) 0.04
Potassium (mg) 637
Folic acid (B9 in µg)

40.7

Vitamin K (µg) 14.8