For those who were waiting for Flaming June and feel cheated by the soggy June we just had, fret no more. There has never been a Flaming June month in UK and will never be. You get a couple of hot days or one week of sunny days here and there during British summer, that's all !
Disappointing weather aside, there is one vegetable that will never disappoint and will be coming back year after year given a sunny spot. Artichoke is my firm favourite. It's is easy to grow , fun and tasty to eat and it even multiples by itself.
I grow 3 varieties in the allotment. One is silver leaves with dark green, purple tinted fruits bought as a plug plant several years ago from the local garden centre, the other is apple green leaves and green round fruits growing from King's Seeds, the last one was given by a neighbouring plot holder, which has spiky smaller fruits that I don't eat but letting them flowering their heads off and attracting lots of happy bees.
These artichoke plants dot around my plot providing height and interest. I am planning a new area to block plant a lot of them. I look forward to the days that I could pick as many artichokes as I like and make my favourite dishes from them.
The easiest way to cook them is boiling them in salty water for 30-45 minutes. The best sauce to go with is salt, vinegar and olive oil mixture. Some people add a little garlic or chilli flakes, but I personally prefer it plain so that I could taste the true essence of artichokes. What does it taste like? The novice might ask. It tastes a bit like asparagus but even better! The umami is supreme of all vegetables.
*Flaming June is actually the title of a painting of a sumptuous lady dozing off in her orange chiffon dress by Sir Frederic Leighton, 1895.
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