Cardoon is a perennial celery-like looking vegetable that is closely related to globe artichoke, and is a member of the thistle family. It is prized by people from the Mediterranean countries for its unique flavor, which we think is similar to the taste of artichoke. We have found that cardoon is usually only available in the markets around Christmas time. Many people discard the tougher outer ribs, but we have found that they have excellent flavor, too, if you don't mind throwing away the stringy remains, as one does with artichoke bracts (leaves). All the ribs in this bunch are edible, as are the smaller leaves. The new growth center stalks have a frilly top which is too tough to eat and should be removed with the larger outer leaves. The inner tender stalks can be eaten raw. Cardoon is best prepared by boiling in soups and steaming. We have also stir-fried cardoon in water. See the nutritional chart by clicking on the photo or link.

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