Native to the Mediterranean, the artichoke is the edible flower bud of a thistle-like plant in the sunflower family which is eaten as a vegetable. One plant can produce up to 30 chokes of different sizes. The edible buds have a slightly nutty-flavor. Once the flower matures, the artichoke becomes inedible so the buds are harvested by hand before flowering.
Five Fun Facts:
- Forego any good wine while eating artichokes. They cause chemical changes which affect the taste buds, enhancing sweet flavors.
- Use a stainless steel knife to trim the artichoke and avoid iron or aluminum cooking pots to discourage discoloration.
- A light spray of lemon juice will prevent darkening of trimmed artichokes awaiting preparation.
- Artichokes are fully cooked when a bottom leaf can easily be pulled from the base.
- Raw hearts should be cooked in acidulated (lemon juice or vinegar) water.
Five Artichoke Recipes:
- Crispy Artichoke Hearts- Handle artichokes very delicately to ensure that the bread crumbs don't fall off.
- Spinach-&-Brie-Topped Artichoke Hearts - In this deconstructed version of hot spinach-artichoke dip, we stuff artichoke hearts with lightly seasoned cooked spinach and melt brie on top.
- Lemon-Herb Artichoke Hearts with Almonds and Red Pepper- Delicious and light - perfect summer lunch.
- Artichoke Fritters- Nothing screams SPRING louder than the first of the season’s baby artichokes. Take your very sharp paring knife and trim off the end of the stem that is dark brown, exposing the lighter inside. Peel the stem all around to cut off the stringy green outside and expose the tender lighter green inner core. Cut off the bottom rows of leaves and continue cutting around the artichoke, removing leaves until you get to the inside leaves which are yellow and green. Cut the artichoke in half and place in acidulated water (water with lemon juice) to keep it from turning dark.
- Moroccan Beef Stuffed Artichokes- Artichoke bottoms stuffed with beef, rice and spices and stewed in a rich tomato sauce until perfectly tender.
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Nutrition information per raw artichoke:
Fat: 0.2 g
Carbohydrates: 17 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 152 mg
Protein: 5 g
Sugars: 2 g