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Artichoke Varietal Question: Round vs. Conical, Tough vs. Tender?

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I've always purchased smaller/conical artichokes and they've been tender and delicious.

At the market I found very large round//flatter artichokes and cooked them along with the first (more conical) ones. The larger rounder/flat artichokes were tough & leathery by comparison (even though a fork went into the stem easily when steamed).

For those who are "artichoke savvy", are these different varietals or just old/tough artichokes? And, can "leathery" artichokes be made soft if cooked...a second time, or are they hopeless?

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  1. Yes, they are different varieties and I agree with you that the conical artichokes are more tender and seem to have more to eat on the leaf.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Glencora

      Thanks. I wish I knew that before I steamed, cleaned, marinated then grilled them!!

      (Can they be additionally steamed to achieve tenderness or are they hopeless...?)

      1. re: Funwithfood

        Sorry, I don't really know. Maybe someone else will comment. I do know that super fresh homegrown artichokes need less time to cook, so maybe if you have old chokes, additional cooking will help. I kinda doubt it, though.

        I've never grilled them. Have to try that.

    2. I had both kinds this past week, braised in white wine with herbs, garlic and lemon. They were both tender and fine to eat though I think the globe ones had fewer leaves and a smaller heart.

      1 Reply
      1. re: escondido123

        My rounder ones were HUGE, very heavy and tight leaves so they were fresh. Are larger artichokes generally tougher? I've never noticed this "toughness" with the conical shaped ones.

        Anyway, I've got a bunch of marinated artichokes that are leathery :(. I guess I could test one...perhaps microwave it for a while, then grill it and see how it tastes...?

      2. I get the globular ones in season because here in LA County they're typically sold with looooong stems. Steam and peel the whole thing and it's like having a foot-long artichoke heart! But I agree that the 'chokes themselves are much meatier in the pointy variety, and I think their flavor is more interesting too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Will Owen

          But I notice the ones that come to a point at the end need to be cooked much longer than the globe variety.
          Here's some info: Artichoke Varieties - Photo Gallery - Photo 1 | SAVEUR.com