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Monday, April 25, 2016
HAD A DELICIOUS BOILED ARTICHOKE FOR DINNER... if you haven't tried them, get some and cook and eat them!
Steamed, boiled, fried, or used for dips, Artichokes are the heart of spring produce. High in fiber,
low in calories and fat, and rich in antioxidants, Artichokes are a healthy, versatile vegetable that
are tender and scrumptious.
Artichoke origins date back to the ancient Greeks. According to legend, the artichoke was
created when Zeus turned the object of his affection into a thistle after being rejected.
Ancients believed the artichoke was a wealth of health benefits, including its use as an
aphrodisiac, diuretic, breath freshener, and deodorant.
The "vegetable" that we eat are the plant's flower buds before the flowers come into
The “choke” part of the plant is a mass of immature florets in the center of the flower bud
that are inedible.
If allowed to flower, artichoke blossoms measure up to 7” in diameter and are a beautiful
Artichokes are available twelve months a year with the peak season in the spring and fall.
There are more than 140 artichoke varieties but less than 40 are grown commercially.
Today most artichokes grown worldwide are cultivated in France, Italy, and Spain, while
California provides 100% of the United States’ commercial crop.
Artichoke fields are maintained in perennial culture for 5-10 years. Each cropping cycle
is initiated by "cutting back" the tops of the plants several inches below the soil surface
to stimulate development of new shoots. The operation called "stumping," is timed to
regulate the new harvest season.
Low in calories and fat
Rich source of fiber
#7 on USDA’s Top 20 antioxidant-rich foods
Excellent source of folic acid
Moderate source of Vitamins C
Wash artichokes under cold running water.
Using a serrated knife, cut off the stems, leaving about ½” near the base
of the artichoke, then cut off the top 1/3 of tip of the artichoke.
Using kitchen shears, snip any sharp or spiky tips from the petals.
Pull off any lower petals that are small and tough.
Rub all cut surfaces with half a lemon to preserve the artichoke’s green
color. Alternatively, you may put the artichokes in water mixed with
lemon juice or vinegar.
Place a steamer basket in a large pot and add enough water so it boils
Place artichokes in steamer basket, stem-side up. Cover pot and steam
until artichoke heart is tender, 25-35 minutes. Test tenderness by piercing
the base with a knife
Serve warm or room temperature with dipping sauces.
To eat, pull off leaves, dip in sauce (if desired), and scrape meat off
tender end with the front of your teeth. When you reach the center
cone of purple, prickly leaves, remove it. Scrape away thistle fuzz
covering heart. The heart is the meatiest part of the artichoke and is