|Plants in bloom|
Chunks of information
- Cheese making: "Cardoons are a thistle-like plant which grow up to about 7 foot high. The stamens are picked and dried - a bit like saffron stamens. "You want cardoon with as much purple in it as you can get" said Mary. It’s traditionally used to make sheeps’ cheeses but she uses it with goats milk when she has a plentiful supply in the summer and believes it gives her cheeses a special flavour and texture. “It’s the cardoons, not my cheesemaking which give character to the cheese” she said modestly. “We have to grind the stamens to break them then add warm water and infuse them for 20 minutes then filter it and stir it into the milk. You have to do this extremely thoroughly otherwise you can get parts of the milk coagulating and others staying liquid. The process is quite quick - it takes about the same time as making normal soft or hard cheese.”
- Cover the plants with straw during the winter, because cardoon isn't hardy against frost.