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Artichokes


Anna Blume
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I'm avoiding a more specific title or topic description, though mktye, feel free to make changes to suit your system should this grow to include posts dedicated both to shopping and cooking.

HOWEVER, all I want to know is where I might find a good price for baby artichokes.

Last year, Whole Foods was quite reasonable, I thought, when both tiny and medium-sized artichokes were priced per pound.

This month, quite frankly, I was shocked to see that they're going for $1.99 apiece. Jeepers. For someone wishing to make a braise for a crowd that includes a well over a dozen, that is just way too much to spend. I just don't know what factors went into a price that soars this high.

After conducting a search, I noticed that baby artichokes appeared at the farmers markets in June last year. However, I'm hoping some members spot good baby artichokes in April better suited for lighter purses.

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The big freezes they had in CA a while back is bound to make prices sky-high.
Yeah, that's why I tempered my shock and tried not to express indignation. I am sure there are a number of factors that go into deciding how the consumer is affected by crop loss.

Questions remain though about pricing systems and categories.

Context: Trader Joe's had a sale price for giant globe artichokes when they first appeared, shipped from California. The overall quality seemed inferior to the quality of the large ones that Whole Foods has priced at 2 for $5 these past two weeks. I haven't bought any at your stores yet, but I managed to find two very good-looking ones at TJs for $1.69 each. Pared and cooked, they proved fine if less than perfect since the stems were very stringy and disintegrated while steaming.

Speculation: these sales have been run to encourage shoppers to start buying artichokes now that they are in season again. The large ones are the ones that are grown in greatest quantities and are most available. They're the "regular" artichokes.

The baby ones are classified differently, considered "gourmet" the same way that small thin Asian/Italian eggplants are, for example, compared to the big fat dark purple ones. Therefore, baby artichokes cost more.

What I don't get is why the cost of large artichokes hasn't shot up and why the price of baby artichokes is now set per piece rather than by weight. When a shopper managed to find a bargain in NYC: baby artichokes at only $1.98 a pound in NYC (Post #8)... :blink:

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Picked up a package of a dozen about the size of an egg at Wegmans this past Sunday. Threw away the receipt so can't tell you the price but I am not a big spender.

The question then becomes, what do you do with baby artichokes?

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One of the advantages of baby artichokes is that you shouldn't need to trim them, just quarter, halve or slice them. They shouldn't have furry chokes. The leaves become very tender, so you end up eating more of the vegetable than you would had you purchased large globes.

They're especially good for risotto and braises, say with chicken and mushrooms or with lamb and leeks.

There's a special stew Romans prepare in springtime called vignarola* that calls for artichokes, fava beans, peas, new onions, potatoes and sometimes a little pancetta for flavor along with white wine and mint, though a purely vegetarian version is great. Especially good as leftovers.

*Lots of recipes on the Web, but look around first. Some call for oregano vs. traditional mint, other versions use asparagus, no artichokes. Zora made something related recently.

Perla Meyers has a recipe called Artichokes Valeuris which is adapted from a Roman dish. White wine, anchovies, garlic, capers, minced parsley... I like it cold. There are a number of American cookbooks that alter traditional European recipes to accommodate the fact that baby artichokes were not available in this country at the time of publication.

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One of the advantages of baby artichokes is that you shouldn't need to trim them, just quarter, halve or slice them. They shouldn't have furry chokes. The leaves become very tender, so you end up eating more of the vegetable than you would had you purchased large globes.
I guess the ones I've found haven't been 'baby' enough, as I found they needed a good bit of trimming and pairing.
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SFW had some nice looking regular size, that don't need to be trimmed if you steaming them stuffed, for only $1 a piece! That is the absolute cheapest that I have seen them in this area.
Thanks for the tip. Since I didn't see the price in their online list of weekly specials, I went to Giant instead and was surprised to find a sign for 99 cents* above a few slightly under-sized. Not exactly pristine, but they look as if they'll be fine stewed.

*At register, price differs, so double-check both sign & receipt.

Now, in order to get maybe a tablespoon or two of fresh mint, do I have to spend for a bunch $2.50 at WFMI?

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Now, in order to get maybe a tablespoon or two of fresh mint, do I have to spend for a bunch $2.50 at WFMI?
If WFMI = Whole Foods, Korean supermarkets are a much better deal on herbs.

I believe you live in or near MoCo so can't tell you any specifics but I believe there is a Super H in Wheaton and/or Catonsville based on this thread on Chowhound. Unfortunately at this moment the software for the Rockwell site isn't giving me the "post link" thingie.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/356946

Grand Marts are good, too. A weird synthesis of Asian and Hispanic, lots of unusual items.

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If WFMI = Whole Foods, Korean supermarkets are a much better deal on herbs.
Thanks for the tip. Under my avatar, you'll see I'm in the District, but do go out to Rockville from time to time. Meanwhile, I just got a very kind offer from another DR member.

Having just come back from Whole Foods, I am happy to report that the tiny babies are back to $3.99 a pound at the Georgetown/Glover store. The tips of the leaves did seem rather prickly.

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SFW had some nice looking regular size, that don't need to be trimmed if you steaming them stuffed, for only $1 a piece! That is the absolute cheapest that I have seen them in this area.
Safeway as well as Giant? The Van Ness Giant had a sign up saying a quasi-sorry lot of medium-sized artichokes were 99 cents each.

I chose 3 decent-looking ones to make vignarola, using frozen fava beans (WF) and peas. I almost wish I used frozen artichoke hearts, too. Even though I trimmed them quite a bit, there were many slivers of leaves that were tender on one side, but very tough and inedible on the other. I am not sure if this year's weather is to blame.

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Artichaut farci en crepinette et son petit ragout printanier.

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Artichokes stuffed with pork and turnip greens. Bound in my ventrèche and caul fat then gently roasted with lemon and olive oil. A ragout of dried chickpeas simmered with pork shanks, some fresh chickpeas, sliced artichoke stalks. Toasted bread crumbs to follow.

Chock full of o'chokes

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8567443390_5dd5eb3d4a_z.jpg

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