I took this photo over the weekend.  Annoyingly, my garden is starting to produce radishes, broad beans and artichokes just as I am about to go on holiday.  I rescued this first ripe artichoke to gift to a friend who loves them, and hopefully there will be more by the time I come home.

I love artichoke plants.  They're so big and bushy and lush and green.  The edible flowers are great too, of course.  So many people I know are a bit intimidated by artichokes and how to eat them.  There are plenty of online tutorials, which show how to steam the flowers so that you can enjoy the ritual of pulling off the petals one by one, dipping them in sauce and scraping the fleshy part between your teeth.  It's all a bit fiddly for me and in the end I found the best way to approach artichokes was to wait until I had a bounty of flowers, boil them all at once and hack them to bits for the hearts.  I then preserved the cooked hearts in garlic, rosemary and olive oil and kept my jar of hearts in my fridge, ready for when I wanted to make anitpasti or salad.  This was my harvest from last year.  Nom! :

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