Although the entire artichoke crop was lost in the December freeze, the plants have recovered and are building up to a normal spring harvest. Picking will be in full swing by early March, says Patty Boman, manager of the California Artichoke Advisory Board at Castroville, and will continue through May.
A short freeze a few weeks ago produced brown spots on some baby artichokes that came to market in Los Angeles. Boman says such spots are only cosmetic flaws. If anything, they indicate superior flavor. The cold makes the artichokes sweeter, she explains. Baby 'chokes have been in short supply but will be more prevalent this week and plentiful during the spring.
There's good news for ice cream lovers. This month Haagen-Dazs, makers of premium cold sweets, is introducing frozen yogurt. Packaged in pint containers, the yogurt comes in five flavors--vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, peach and vanilla almond crunch. Although creamy, this luscious dessert is 96% fat-free, according to Haagen-Dazs, and contains no preservatives, artificial colors, flavors or additives. That means you can indulge without severe damage to your diet. Priced at $2.95 a pint, the frozen yogurt is destined for supermarkets, convenience stores and Haagen-Dazs shops.
Lovers of tropical fruit will be glad to know that Mexican mangoes are coming into season. When fully ripe and sweet, the fruit is great to blend into drinks, puree for ice cream, add to fruit compotes or simply eat as is. Ready-to-eat fruit should exhibit vibrant hues of red, orange and yellow and yield slightly to gentle pressure.