What's this? A thistle you say! You are wrong. It's an Artichoke. Yep that's what an Artichoke looks like in bloom. Although I can't really grow good artichokes in zone 4, I can grow really good thistles and they taste the same! Here's how to cook them.......
Here are some of my thistles in the back yard. My wife said to weed wack them but they were getting so big. Oh and I must put a disclamer before I forget. Do not go out and eat plants unless you have a mentor of some sort and some field guides. I have had extensive training and experience eating wild plants. Ok now for some fun
I decided to experiment and find which stage of flowering had the most artichoke heart. Yep that's my plate. I eat off of plates with deer on them.
Into the steamer they go.
Cross sectional analysis shows that the later stage where the purple top has just turned brown has the most heart. Arn't those shadows cool!!
So you grab the flower part, and just kind of pull it down out of your thistle. Then you can get the good stuff out pretty easy.
See here's the bottom heart part I got
Here's another view. To eat, you put the bottom suculent artichoke section in your mouth (not the upper flower section). Close your mouth and engage your teeth in a biting motion. Use your toungue to move the food towards the back of your mouth where the grinding teeth are and move jaw in chewing motion. I'll leave the rest up to you. The flower and spines you can just compost some where.