Food Information


Cardoon, also called cardoni, is native to southern Europe and North Africa. Although it is related to the artichoke, it looks more like a very large, slightly "horned," coarse bunch of celery. It is often two feet in length and isn't very attractive. However, it is highly prized by southern Italians and Sicilians.

The limited amount of cardoon grown in the United States is produced in California. The peak of season is in the fall and winter months. The coarse outer ribs are tough and stringy and are usually discarded. The inner stalks and the heart are tender when boiled (they are usually fried after they are boiled). Like its cousin the artichoke, the cardoon tends to discolor and blacken when cooked in aluminum utensils. Vinegar or lemon juice will retard or eliminate this discoloration.

WHEN TO BUY: Supplies limited and erratic; available late fall through winter
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Firm, erect stalks
HOW TO STORE: Requires refrigeration

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