Historians believe the Artichoke originated in the Mediterranean countries, possible Sicily or Tunisia. From the 16th century to the end of the 20th century, the Artichoke was made a gourmet item in Paris, France
All about artichoke
Hailing from the composite flower family, the artichoke grows wild in southern Europe. It is also cultivated in areas with Mediterranean climate. Its stem grows up to 1 metre in length and then it branches out into large heads with thistle like flowers. The thickened receptacle (heart) and soft base of the immature flower is usually consumed. Artichokes are known to be very rich in potassium, cynarinand and phytonutrients. Scientists believe that the latter helps in reducing cholesterol and triglycerides. Artichoked are low in calories.
Pull each leaf off the choke and hold the pointed end between your fingers and drag the leaf between your teeth. Most of the edible portion is on inside bottom 1/3 of the choke leaf. Once you've eaten all the leaves you'll see the heart or flower of the choke. Once you see a bed of fuzzy or hair like strands you've hit the heart. Scoop out the fuzz with a spoon and discard. The rest of the base of the choke is edible, referred to as the heart.
Traditional Usesfats. Artichokes also strengthen the kidneys.
Consumption and Storage
When buying, choose heavy plump globe artichokes which have compact leaves and move when pressed. Artichokes can generally be stored for up to seven days in a fridge. While preparing, trim the vegetable and then soak it upside down in a bowl of salted water up to an hour so as to remove dirt lodged in between the leaves. Coat with lime juice and then steam, microwave or bake before eating. Smaller artichokes can be consumed whole or sliced. With larger artichokes, consume only the heart and the soft part of the leaves.
Artichoke and health
- High blood cholesterol -- Recent research conducted shows that the globe artichoke has substances that appear to substantially reduce cholesterol levels within human blood. The phytonutrient cynarin which is active constituent of the vegetable helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. Continued research also indicates that another artichoke extract known as monocaffeoylquinic acid is also found effective in reducing blood cholesterol levels.
- High Blood Triglycerides -- Artichoke extract cynarin and monocaffeoylquinic acid have shown to reduce high levels of triglycerides in the blood in lab tests.
- Liver Disease -- Cynarin and another substance known as caffeic acid, that are found in artichokes are said to prevent the liver from getting infected by hepatitis infection within lab tests. These phytonutrients also appear to help the liver regenerate if damaged.
- Bowel and Skin Cancer -- Artichokes are also rich in Insulin that has been found to increase the beneficial bifidobacteria in stools as well reduce levels of the harmful enterobacteria and enterococci thus promoting a healthier environments within the bowels and reducing the chances of cancer. Also in experimental conditions antioxidants that are found within artichokes have been shown to protect the skin against cancer.
- The Complete Guide, Healing Foods, Amanda Ursell, published by Dorling Kindersley
- About Artichokes