The same procedure can be applied to immature artichokes. These, trimmed of their outer leaves, and their points sliced off (they are too young to have a choke), and including 2½cm (1in) of stem, are halved or quartered and precipitated into vinegar and water to which is added the juice of several lemons to blanch them, and then cooked as for funghi sott’olio. After cooking, they are drained, dried and put into glass jars with a fewcoriander seeds; they don’t need to dry overnight. Slip in 2fresh bayleaves. Cover with oil and close.
At the end of the artichoke season the smallest flower heads appear, and are sold at a lower price. You buy abundle of 40 heads, and sit down to pick off the leaves, reducing them to a trimmed heart, because by this time the leaves are tough. The chokes have to be carefully removed by swivelling a round-headed stainless steel knife into the heart. They take a few minutes longer to cook. Drain and dry them, then put them in jars with a fresh bayleaf in each, cover with oil and close.
With regard to this bundle of artichokes, acquired for conserving, it is interesting that in 1499 a fit gift made to Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, by a Genoese nobleman, Giovanni Adorno, consisted of 40 artichokes and a bunch of magnificent roses. This reveals the rarity of these vegetable fruits at the turn of the 15th century, and perhaps the area – round Genoa – in which they were first cultivated in northern Italy. (See Cartwright in the bibliography.)