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.
Fun Facts
  • 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 
  • violet-blue color.
  • 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.
      Trim and Eat
    • 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 
      • edible without the fuzz.
      This article is from FRESH MARKET.

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