ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cardoons, a Delicious Vegetable

Updated on February 2, 2015

From Prehistory to Today

Although originally it was animals that ate artichoke thistles, or cardoons, it did not take long before humans discovered their delicious taste; by the fourth century B.C.E., as seen in Theophrastus, cardoons were already widely known for their wonderful flavour. They are mentioned in ancient Greek writings as being grown near Carthage (in modern day Tunisia), and is mentioned in Pliny's writings. This relative of the artichoke was popular in ancient Greek and Rome, and continued to be popular in the Middle Ages, in the gardens of the colonies of the United States of America, and right up to the late nineteenth century. Only recently has this vegetable fallen from favour, but this neglected food has been unjustly forgotten. It has a taste all its own, but reminiscent of artichokes, to which it is related.



Just like their familiar relatives the artichokes, cardoons take a huge amount of space in a garden, and can easily become invasive (it is an invasive exotic in some parts of South America, Australia and Indonesia). The plants require a cool growing season of about five months to thrive, but because it is a thistle, it can easily adapt itself and naturalize to any dry climate. When harvesting cardoons, be careful because the stalks are covered with spines or bristles that are almost invisible but can be very painful! You should take great care around this plant, even in handling the spineless varieties. Be sure to wear heavy gloves, and thick pants with boots, as well as a thick long-sleeved shirt, or you will regret it!

Cardoon Honey
Cardoon Honey

The delicious taste of cardoon honey is like nothing else you have ever tried!



If you are not able or willing to grow your own cardoons, you just might be lucky enough to find this vegetable for sale, perhaps in a local farmers' market, and then you will be in for a treat! The flower buds can be cooked and served just as you would an artichoke in any of the hundreds of recipes available; the stems can be braised or steamed, or battered and fried, as it is served in New Orleans. Even the root of the plant is edible, and can be roasted, steamed, broiled, braised, or sliced thinly and fried like potato chips.

Cardoons play a large part in the regional cuisines of several Mediterranean countries, including Spain, Provence, and Italy, and in Abruzzi, a region of Italy, cardoons in chicken broth with meatballs form the first dish of the traditional Christmas Day lunch.

And if you keep bees, they can turn cardoon pollen into a delicious honey! If you make cheese, you can use the plants as a source of rennet, as is done by cheesemakers in Spain and Portugal.

Cynara cardunculus - Cardoon
Cynara cardunculus - Cardoon

If you have trouble growing plants from seeds, you can always try with live starter plants. Again, remember they require a lot of room!



Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)