It’s artichoke season in Santa Barbara

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Artichokes are in season now in Southern California. They take about a year to grow, and you can typically find them at the market from March until May.

This thistle specie is high in antioxidants and fiber. In Europe, artichoke extract is used for digestive issues.

Market host Katie Hershfelt visited Tutti Futti Farms and Roots Organic Farm to find out what varieties they’re growing in the Santa Ynez Valley.

When you’re picking out an artichoke, ask your farmer whether or not it has a choke, the fuzzy center right above the heart. If it does, you’ll have to remove it, since it’s not the tastiest. If it doesn’t, you only have to trim the spiky outer leaves and the stem.

Smaller artichokes have tender stems that you can keep on. Larger artichokes typically have woodier stalks that should get chopped off.

Olive Cadwell from Tutti Frutti Farms likes frying the smaller ones. With the larger ones, she boils them in water and eats the bottom of the leaves with a homemade aioli.

Jasmine Ment from Roots Organic Farm likes to steam her artichokes and dip them in a mixture of coconut oil and herbs.

Tutti Frutti Farms grows globe artichokes. Olive Cadwell likes the baby ones, which are more tender and chokeless. The larger ones take a bit more work to prep. (Kathryn Barnes/KCRW)
Roots Organic Farm has Italian purple artichokes. They’re mostly chokeless and spineless, so you can eat the whole thing. (Kathryn Barnes/KCRW)

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