Inventory, 20 lbs : 2.83
This item was last sold on : 12/03/23
Cocktail artichokes are small, averaging 5 to 7 centimeters in length, and vary in shape from round to conical, depending on climate and growing conditions. The petite buds are compact and comprised of tight layers of triangular pointed leaves, also known as bracts. The outer bracts are dark green, tough, and fibrous, and some leaves may contain small thorns. As each layer is peeled away, the color of the bracts transforms from dark green to a pale yellow-green, and the bracts grow smaller and smaller towards the interior, revealing a central heart. Cocktail artichokes are unique as they don’t contain the inedible choke that is present in larger varieties. Cocktail artichokes have softer leaves and can be consumed raw or cooked. Raw artichokes have a crisp, slightly bittersweet, and nutty vegetal taste. When cooked, the artichokes develop a green, nutty, and slightly tangy flavor, and their leaves soften into a tender consistency.
Cocktail artichokes are available year-round, with a peak season in the spring.
Cocktail artichokes, botanically classified as Cynara scolymus, are unopened flower buds of an herbaceous perennial belonging to the Asteraceae family. The term Cocktail artichoke is used for several varieties of artichokes, mainly globe, and refers to small buds harvested from the lower portions of the plant. Cocktail artichokes are considered mature buds. The reason they are smaller than normal artichokes is due to the bud’s low growth on the inner portions of the stalk. The buds are also generally shaded from the sun due to the plant’s leaves, stunting their growth. Cocktail artichokes grow on the same plant as larger artichokes and are favored for their easy-to-prepare nature, containing a similarly sweet, nutty, and vegetal flavor profile. It is important to note that the term baby artichokes may be used interchangeably with Cocktail artichokes in some markets. In Europe, baby artichokes are harvested before they are mature, while in the United States, the buds are harvested mature but are smaller in size.
Cocktail artichokes are a source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, and folate to promote the production of healthy red blood cells. The petite artichokes also provide moderate amounts of vitamin K to assist in faster wound healing, phosphorus to protect bones and teeth, copper to develop red blood cells, and other nutrients, including manganese, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Cocktail artichokes have a mild, sweet, nutty, and subtly vegetal flavor suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The small buds should be scrubbed in water to remove the bitter film on the surface, and the outer dark green leaves should be peeled and discarded. Once the artichokes are peeled to their pale yellow-green leaves, the stems and tops of the buds should be sliced. Placing the buds in lemon water or a mixture of vinegar and water will also help prevent the artichokes from browning during the preparation process. Cocktail artichokes can be shaved raw into salads, or they can be cooked and blended into creamy dips. The artichokes can also be cut in half or cooked whole, popularly steamed, grilled, baked, roasted, braised, or blanched. Cocktail artichokes can be incorporated into soups or stews, slow-cooked in crockpot recipes, cooked into pasta, or skewered onto kabobs and grilled. The artichokes can also be used as a pizza topping, steamed and served as a bite-sized appetizer with herbs and cheese, or halved and stuffed. Try blanching the buds in oil and then frying to create a crispy exterior. Cocktail artichokes can also be preserved in oil for extended use. Cocktail avocados pair well with herbs such as mint, sage, basil, and thyme, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, truffles, cheeses including feta, goat, and parmesan, lemon, vinaigrettes, white wine, and hollandaise. Whole, unwashed raw Cocktail artichokes will keep for 5 to 7 days when stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Cooked Cocktail artichokes will keep up to one week in the fridge.
In the mid to late 20th century in the United States, artichokes were studied for their taste-changing properties, commonly referred to as the “artichoke effect.” A 1935 scientific report written by geneticist Dr. Albert F. Blakeslee documented the effects of dinner party guests consuming artichokes as an appetizer. In the study, 250 biologists were served artichokes as an appetizer, and after the dish, Dr. Blakeslee recorded that 60% of the guests claimed the water tasted sweeter. This perplexing notion was further examined in 1972 through a study conducted by Dr. Linda Bartoshuk, Dr. Chi-hang Lee, and Richard Scarpellino, published in the journal Science. Dr. Bartoshuk’s scientific findings revealed that artichokes contain chlorogenic acid and cynarin, compounds that temporarily inhibit taste bud receptors, causing items to taste sweeter. Cynarin, specifically, hinders taste buds from recognizing sweet flavors. As this compound is washed away from the tongue from eating or drinking, it will cause the taste buds to detect this contrast and naturally think it's tasting sweeter ingredients. The “artichoke effect” is estimated to last for 4 to 5 minutes, and the perceived sweetness was equated in the study to mixing two teaspoons of sugar into six ounces of water. Since these studies, chefs have become aware of flavor pairings with artichokes and sometimes use this unique trait to enhance the dining experience.
Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean and are believed by experts to be a descendant of a wild cardoon, a thistle-like plant consumed as a delicacy in the Ancient Greek and Roman Empires. It is unknown when artichokes began to resemble the varieties found in modern-day markets, but they were developed through natural cultivation techniques and selective breeding. Around 800 CE, artichokes were introduced into North Africa and Spain, where the plant became domesticated as a food source. Artichokes were commercially cultivated as early as the 12th century in Spain and Italy, and the plants were spread across Southern Europe into France, eventually making their way into England. Artichokes were carried to the United States through French, Italian, and Spanish immigrants in the 19th century and were planted throughout Louisiana and coastal California. Today Cocktail artichokes are grown on the same plants used for commercial and home garden plantings worldwide. Artichokes are commonly found in the Mediterranean basin, with concentrated commercial productions in France, Italy, and Spain. Artichokes are also cultivated in California of the United States, in South America, mainly in Peru and Argentina, Australia, and Africa.
Restaurants currently purchasing this product as an ingredient for their menu.
|Fairmont Grand Del Mar||San Diego CA||858-314-1975|
|Coast Catering||Escondido CA||619-295-3173|
|The Remy||San Diego CA||619-886-1358|
|C 2 C||San Diego CA||619-972-9345|
|Nobu||San Diego CA||619-814-4124|
|Lodge at Torrey Pines Main||San Diego CA||858-453-4420|
|US Grant Hotel Grill||San Diego CA||619-232-3121|
|The Santaluz Club Inc - Main Dining||San Diego CA||858-759-3150|
|Elks Lodge 2698 -Donation||Lakeside CA||619-390-4949|
|Mabel's Gone Fishing||San Diego CA||619-228-9851|
Recipes that include Cocktail Artichokes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Running to the Kitchen||Crispy Lemon Roasted Baby Artichokes|
|Foodie Crush||Roasted Artichokes with Chorizo Dressing|