Carciofi: come sceglierli

Per capire come scegliere un carciofo bisogna guardarlo come se guardassimo un fiore che deve sbocciare: più il bocciolo (la cima edule del carciofo) è chiuso, compatto e appuntito, più sarà tenero, ideale da mangiare in pinzimonio o appena scottato. Se invece è già un pò aperto, allora aspettatevi qualcosa di più coriaceo: in questi casi sarà meglio cuocere per bene. Ora però è il momento di puntare sulla tenerezza: i carciofi stanno prendendo i primi freddi seri e, come tutte le verdure autunno-invernali, si avvantaggiano se riescono a sfruttare una buona esposizione alla luce diurna e temperature rigide la notte. Anche il gambo è importante: dovrà essere sodo e integro, e le foglie non dovranno essere appassite.

La stagione del carciofo va da ottobre fino a maggio-giugno, perché ne esistono diverse varietà che permettono di coprire tutto questo lungo lasso di tempo. Viva la biodiversità, dunque. Adesso e fino a febbraio è il periodo in cui si trovano sia i carciofi della varietà “Spinoso sardo”, sia i “Thema” privi di spine. Entrambi sono coltivati soprattutto in Sardegna e in quantità minori in Liguria e Sicilia. Tra poco la Sicilia produrrà in maniera più intensa, via via verranno Toscana, Lazio e Campania con le varietà primaverili, i bianchi, i violetti o quelli genericamente detti “mammole”.

Viste le abbondanti piogge delle scorse settimane, la produzione di spinosi e Thema è stata rigogliosa. I prezzi tra le due varietà però sono molto diversi. Lo Spinoso costa circa il doppio del Thema (da 1,5 a 2 Euro il pezzo), principalmente perché è una varietà molto meno produttiva. In un campo con la stessa densità di piante il Thema produce il triplo: se una singola pianta di spinoso dà 5 carciofi, quella di un Thema ne dà 15. Naturale che questa varietà senza spine, studiata soprattutto per le esigenze della grande distribuzione che li vende già puliti e confezionati, abbia avuto un’esplosione a partire dagli anni 90 soppiantando così un poco gli spinosi, a cui oggi resta il 35% delle quote di mercato. Se ne trovano però di buona qualità di tutti e due i tipi, anche se lo Spinoso rimane quello tradizionale, soprattutto nel Nord Italia dove è apprezzato come verdura tipicamente invernale. Nel Centro-Sud invece si prediligono le varietà tardo-invernali e primaverili.

Fonte: Archivio Slow food

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