Smallholders can consider themselves lucky if they need to know how to preserve artichokes. For, as we wrote about on page in the November edition of SA Smallholder Digital Magazine, growers of globe artichokes don’t often have enough to be able to bottle them.
Confusingly, there are three different, unrelated plants are all known by this name. The globe artichoke is related to the thistle. Its leaves are edible, as is the bottom part of the flower, called the heart.
The Jerusalem artichoke belongs to the sunflower family and it is the plant’s underground tubers that are eaten. They are rather knobbly and irregular in shape, with a pale brown or purple-red skin. The Chinese artichoke is a perennial herb of the mint family, grown for its edible tuberous underground stems.
- 1kg artichokes
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges
- 350ml white vinegar
- 500ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more if necessary
- 1 head garlic, broken into cloves
- handful fresh mixed or 2 tablespoons dried mixed herbs
- 5 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh or dried origanum
- Coarse salt
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
Strip away the outer leaves of the artichokes and soak the tender hearts in a bowl of water and lemon wedges to stop them from browning. Drain the artichokes and leave them upside down.
Prepare a pot of water and add the vinegar ~ 2/3 vinegar to 1/3 water. Bring to the boil.
Place the artichokes in the boiling mixture, cover and poach them gently in the mixture until cooked but not soft and still firm in the centre. The time for cooking varies ~ about 15-20 minutes, depending on how young the artichokes are.
Drain them well and leave to cool.
When cool, pack the artichokes carefully into sterilised jars, pressing them down gently and trying to prevent as many gaps as possible.
Heat the oil with the garlic, herbs, bay leaves and origanum. Remove from the heat and cool. Add the salt and pepper. You can remove the garlic or slice it and return it to the oil.
Pour the flavoured oil over the artichokes. Top with more oil if required after a few minutes.
Seal the jars. The artichokes can be eaten within ten days, but the longer they are left the stronger the flavour will be. Once the jar is opened, store it in the fridge.
To read more about food processing click here.
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