Cardoni is reminiscent in flavor to artichokes, celery, and salsify and resembles a giant bunch of wide, flat looking celery. Its outer stalks are fibrous, flexible and covered with soft prickles (hence, the word Cardoon is derived from the Latin word for thistle). Its inner stalks are lighter in color, tender and more succulent. Although several varieties differ slightly in color, Cardoni usually has a silvery gray-green color.
Cardoni should be cooked before eating and is sometimes pre-cooked in boiling salted water before using in recipes. Discard any tough, outer leaves and trim the leafy edges from each stalk. Using a vegetable peeler, peel back any celery-like strings. Always cook before eating, Cardoni can be prepared a variety of ways including boiling, braising or baking.