WHY Artichokes?

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Let’s start with what is an artichoke? Artichokes are the edible portion of the plant consisting of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom and is classified as a vegetable by the way it is consumed. Artichokes are also known as a superfood. They have many positive benefits: antioxidant-rich, dietary fiber, cancer prevention, reduce cholesterol and vitamin K (may offer protection against neuronal damage and degeneration) just to name a few.

In the US, California produces close to 100% of all of our artichokes. You should eat artichokes fresh when available, or you can find them frozen, canned or jarred. Artichokes are in peak season between March and May. So enjoy cooking fresh when you can.

There are so many different ways you can prepare artichokes, steamed, boiled, stuffed, baked, braised, grilled, fried and canned. You can add to dips, sauces, soups, salads, pizzas, and pastas. Be adventurous by trying a new recipe. You can discover many delicious recipes in cookbooks, online and in food magazines. To help you get started I have included a Simple Artichoke Recipe below.  This will help you get started on how to choose, trim and cook an artichoke.

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SIMPLE ARTICHOKE RECIPE
How to choose, trim, cook an artichoke

When choosing an artichoke look for one with its petals closed, these will be more fresh. Preparing an artichoke is fairly easy. Using a serrated bread knife slice off about an inch off the top of the artichoke. Then slice off the stem at the base of the artichoke using the same serrated knife. Remove the small petals at the base. Next using a pair of kitchen scissors cut the tips of each petal to remove the thorns. Now rinse the artichoke in running cold water making sure to open up the petals to clean inside. In a large pot, add a few inches of water to cover the bottom of the pot. Add a half lemon by squeezing the lemon juice into the pot and toss the half squeezed lemon in the pot for added flavor. Adding lemon helps to keep the artichoke from changing brown in color. If lemon isn’t your flavor of choice, feel free to add your favorite flavoring to the water.  Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.  Continue cooking for 45 minutes or until you can easily pull a petal off. Cook times may vary depending on the size of the artichoke.

Serve hot or cold again depending on your preference. Artichokes are usually served with melted butter, but you can create your own dip. I serve with a vegan dip, a blend of ground Cumin (spice) and Vegenaise (found in the refrigerated section) mix to your own taste.

To eat, tear petals off and dip. Don’t forget you can eat the heart of the artichoke (favorite part for most people), which is found at the base once petals the furry section is removed. To remove the furry section (inedible), take a spoon and scrap the fur off and discard. Once removed you will find the artichoke heart. Enjoy!

You can cook several artichokes at a time, eating one now and refrigerating the other to eat later or use in another recipe.

Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 45 min

Do you love artichokes?  Share your favorite artichoke recipe with us.
Be an artichoke foodie. You can learn more about artichokes by visiting artichokes.org

TXTgirl :: Orange County
Photo Source | Shutterstock

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