How to Harvest Artichokes

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The edible part of the artichoke plant is the flower bud that grows at the end of a woody branch. This savory vegetable grows as a perennial in many areas, notably California, and sometimes offers two harvests in a single season. If you harvest a lot of artichokes, consider freezing them for future use. Pick your artichokes at just the right time for optimum flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears
  • Artichokes starts that are set out in the garden in late spring will offer buds that are ready to be harvested in mid-summer.

  • Look for buds that are full, with leaves that are still compact and tight against the bud.

  • Squeeze the artichoke lightly. It should give a little squeak if it is ready.

  • Cut the artichoke stem with the garden shears about 3 inches away from the base of the artichoke bud.

Tips & Warnings

  • After you harvest the artichokes you want for eating, let the plant continue to develop its signature purple flower, which is used in flower arrangements and crafts.
  • Eat artichokes hot or cold. They are usually cooked by steaming or boiling, but immature artichokes may be eaten raw.
  • Artichokes don't produce a bud the first year.

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  • Photo Credit Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images
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