This project started when I was talking to my sister of the holidays and she mentioned one of her problems was not knowing enough about vegetables or how to cook them. We started talking more and this turned into an idea to just create a weekly series of videos and informative posts about vegetables!
Because there are so many this really turned into a huge project! I have to research each vegetable, learn how to cook it multiple ways, learn the benefits and then teach it to all of you! A lot of work goes into one vegetable!
However, the more I dove into this project the more I love it! Artichokes was a huge feat and I feel like I accomplished so much in just one vegetable making it fun and memorable! That is my goal. To get everyone to try more vegetables and really to enjoy making them!
Ok, lets dive into this plant!
HISTORY of the Artichoke and its Uses
Artichokes have a long history of healing, in fact it goes back centuries in Europe! As a traditional medicine, artichoke has been used primarily for enhancing liver function but is also known to improve digestion, and help lower high LDL cholesterol levels. Considered as one of the oldest medicinal plants it was used as a remedy by Ancient Greeks and Romans primarily as a digestive aid.
Today most artichokes grown worldwide are cultivated in France, Italy, and Spain, while California provides nearly 100 percent of the United States crop. California was reintroduced to the artichoke in the early 1900's when a number of Italian immigrants settled in the northern coastal city of Half Moon Bay.
According to the California Artichoke Advisory board, Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean region, an area of the world with one of the lowest rates of chronic disease and one of the highest life expectancy. Mediterranean cuisine features artichokes, other vegetables and fruits, and little saturated fat.
Health Benefits of Artichokes
Although the prep is quite cumbersome to many, the veggie is a good source of folate, dietary fiber and vitamins C and K. Artichokes are also packed with antioxidants; they're number 7 on the USDA's top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.
Loaded with Nutrients
Lowers Bad LDL cholesterol and helps increase good cholesterol
Lowers Blood Sugar
Improves Digestive Health - indigestion, constipation,, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and diarrhea
Aides in detoxifying the body and improves liver health (including a hangover cure!)
Here’s a tally of the this incredible vegetables’ vitamins & nutrients:
Vitamin C & K
170 mg Potassium
6 g Fiber
3.5 g Protein
Now that you know all of the incredible benefits, don’t you just wanted to get started cooking? I mean, the benefits are so substantial my love for them has only magnified except I will try to do more fresh as opposed to canned or jarred!
Here are two very easy recipes that you can use to bring these magical little plants to your kitchen!
Here’s what you need!
1-2 fresh lemons
Olive Oil or Butter
In addition you will need these items in your kitchen:
Med - Large Saucepan
Baking Sheet or pan to roast flat
Rather than writing through the step by step, I’ve created a video so you can do it along with me! The two ways I like to enjoy artichokes are steamed OR roasted. All in all total prep time is about 10 minutes and cook time is 20-40 minutes so make sure you make at least 4 at a time!
Directions: To Steam
Cut the bottom of the artichoke so there’s a nice even cut and the plant to sit up so cut off the full stem.
Cut about 1/2” off the top of the artichoke and spread out the leaves and rinse again
Take a kitchen scissors and cut the tips off of the outside leaves all the way around the artichoke
Squeeze or spread lemon all over the exterior of the plant and on top
sprinkle with salt and olive oil
place 1 garlic clove on the innermost part of the plant
Place artichokes stem side down (face up) in a colander in boiling water. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 25-40 minutes. To check use a knife to poke the bottom of the artichoke and check tenderness.
Remove colander from stove top and let set to cool.
Remove leaves one by one and enjoy! To use the heart take all the leaves off until you get the the center and continue to remove the pieces one by one until you get to the furry choke. Scrape it out with a knife or spoon until smooth and you’re ready to eat the heart! Use in your dips, soups, and cooking throughout the week!
Directions: To Roast