Power flow­ers

Whether you de­cide to eat the tasty su­per-nu­tri­tious heart of a flower bud or al­low it to bloom in a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play of pur­ple tufts, the ar­ti­choke is one of the great­est joys of spring. The best news? These re­ward­ing plants are much more low-main­tena


With its spiky sil­ver leaves and hard-to­get-at heart, the globe ar­ti­choke ( Cy­nara

scoly­mus) is prob­a­bly one of the most in­tim­i­dat­ing and most un­der­rated peren­nial veg­eta­bles. Har­vest­ing, pre­par­ing and cook­ing these prickly-on-the-out­side green beasts might seem like more ef­fort than it’s worth, but with some time, the right tools and our ad­vice on page 100 you’ll soon un­der­stand why the Ital­ians and French are com­pletely hooked.

The story of the ar­ti­choke has a bold be­gin­ning: Zeus, king of the Greek gods, was said to be vis­it­ing his brother Po­sei­don, god of the seas, when he spied a mor­tal woman on the beach. Zeus was struck by her poise and strength, and her ashen hair streaked with turquoise. Her name was Cy­nara. Zeus could not re­sist her beauty and took her back to Mount Olym­pus with him. He would visit Cy­nara when­ever his wife, Hera, was away. But Cy­nara grew sad. She missed the mor­tals she’d left be­hind. When her lone­li­ness be­came un­bear­able, she de­cided to re­turn to earth. When Zeus dis­cov­ered she’d left him, he was fu­ri­ous and pun­ished her by turn­ing her into a plant. It was as beau­ti­ful >

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