Some surprising artichoke pests!

The other day I harvested the first of my globe artichokes. I planted them last spring, and was quite pleased to see how healthy they are looking. The first one was ready for harvesting just before I went to see a friend who lives “upcountry”. I decided that, since I know she loves artichokes, I would harvest it and give it to her. After I handed it to her, she took it and put it down on the work surface upon which a tiny little earwig crawled out. My friend said, “oh that’s nice, a little visitor from Cornwall” and we thought nothing more of it.

Later in the evening, she moved the artichoke from the work surface and put it down on the kitchen table. Another little earwig crawled out. So she gently tapped the artichoke on the table, and then again, a little harder, and lots of little earwigs crawled out, along with some woodlice…I think we managed to coax about 20 of them out of the artichoke, and more when we rinsed it under water – they’d all hopped on board for a road trip to Bristol!

I had no idea earwigs and woodlice would hide away in an artichoke, but thought I’d write about it this week in case anyone else has similar problems. I have since learnt a few useful things:

1. If you roll up a few sheets of newspaper, dampen them and leave them at the base of the plant, then you can entice the earwigs there instead. Then remove the newspaper and shake it free of earwigs in the morning.

2. Harvest the artichokes before they start to open out – as soon as they start to open it is easier for insects to crawl inside.

3. Soak artichokes in a bowl of salted water before cooking – the earwigs should lose their grip on the artichoke and float to the surface (I imagine vinegar/water solution would work too)