In 1947 a young woman named Norma Jean was crowned Castroville's first artichoke queen. She later was known as the famous actress, Marilyn Monroe. Castroville, California is located in Monterey County in Northern California, and thought to be “the artichoke center of the world”. http://www.city-data.com/city/Castroville-California.html.
Artichokes are a very mysterious vegetable. So much of this antioxidant-packed, delicious delicacy is not even edible! That’s right. One must remove the ”beard” which hides a scrumptious, rather meaty treasure, referred to as the “heart”.
It takes a small amount of work to eat the slightly sweet scrapings of the petals and to finally to get to discover the sublime heart. This flavor is very subtle, and, oddly enough, pairs poorly with any kind of wine.
Packed with more antioxidants than almost any other green vegetable, and loaded with fiber, these wonderful, edible flowers are enjoyed all over Europe, Great Britain, Greece, and the Mediterranean. When they were brought to the United States, the climate was so perfect for growing artichokes in Monterey County, that this part of California remains the supplier of all of the artichokes that are commercially grown.
There is work involved in eating an artichoke. In order to get past the thorns on the green petals and then past the beard in the middle, artichokes are so good that still, one never minds having to go to this much trouble. In fact, it is a wonder anyone could have ever figured how to eat it in the first place, but it sure is lucky that someone figured it out.