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Artichokes, Ice Cream, Tropical Fruits

February 21, 1991|BARBARA HANSEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

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.

It's almost 40 years since Welch Foods Inc. introduced cartoon-decorated jam and jelly glasses. The line started in 1953 with Howdy Doody and continued on to Davey Crockett, the Flintstones and other popular heroes. The latest stars are Tom & Jerry, the battling cat and mouse. They follow 18 months of dinosaurs.

The series was interrupted from 1977 to 1989, when a change in the manufacturing process made it difficult to obtain glasses with secure lids. Now that problem has been resolved and kids (and collectors) can look forward to a continuous supply of jelly glasses perked up with cartoon antics. The four designs in the Tom & Jerry set are: Tom on a surfboard (grape jelly); Tom on roller skates (strawberry jam); Jerry on a skateboard (raspberry-apple jam), and Jerry flying a kite (grape jam).

Suggested retail prices are $1.09 for the grape jelly and grape jam, $1.29 to $1.39 for the raspberry-apple and strawberry jams. After the jam is gone, youngsters can use the glasses for juice or milk.

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