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Cardoon

UK Garden Centre - Information about Cardoon

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The cardoon was once in the recommended vegetable lists, but it is a rarity nowadays. This is not really surprising – it takes both trouble and space to grow, and the end-product is not particularly exciting as a vegetable. If, however, the unusual appeals to you or if you are interested in the flavours of the past, cardoons are worth a trial. The thistle-like plants grow up to 6ft (180cm) tall and are more suited to the back of the herbaceous border than the vegetable plot.
Sow seeds in April in groups of 3 about 2in (5cm) deep – leave 2ft between the groups. Thin to a single seedling at each station and water copiously during summer. In September tie the leaves into a bush and blanch as for celery. Dig up the plants after 5 weeks, cut off the roots and remove the outer leaves.
Cardoon produces flower-heads which look like small globe artichokes but it is grown for its blanched stems. Treat as tough and stringy celery. It cannot be eaten raw and should be cooked by first cutting into pieces, stripping off the outer strings and then boiling until tender – at least 30 minutes.

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