Ancient Artichokes Do Require Proper Preparation

Whole and Sliced Artichokes

Artichokes are weird food, in the best way possible.  Part of the thistle family, their interesting shape and buttery smooth texture and flavor when cooked offer an exotic change of pace from the same old vegetable staples.  Known and cultivated for thousands of years, this Mediterranean native requires some preparation, but the preparation is easy, and can even be done a few days ahead of time. 

The quality of flavor of an artichoke can make it a decadent and out of the ordinary option. The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flower comes to bloom and contain iron as well as calcium. After the buds bloom, the structure becomes coarse and barely edible. Artichokes are also high in potassium and magnesium, fiber, and vitamins C, and B6.  


Preparing an Artichoke

The anatomy of an artichoke can be daunting.  Its alien spiky appearance makes it difficult to imagine how it is prepared, but it is not difficult to do so.  To prepare an artichoke,  first, rinse it well, giving it a bit of a scrub with a kitchen brush to remove the bitter film that is naturally on the outside.  Cut the base flat so that the artichoke will stand up, and cut an inch from the top of the artichoke.  The thorns on the tips of the petals can be removed if desired.

The prepared artichoke should then be placed in a bowl of ice water in which a sliced lemon has been added, this prevents the artichoke from turning brown.  It can also simply be rubbed with a lemon. 

Artichokes can be steamed, baked, boiled, roasted, pickled, deep fried,  or grilled on the BBQ.  It can stand alone, be served with butter or lemon, or used in its picked form on salads.  It can be stuffed with a variety of fillings as well. Artichokes make it easy to add another vegetable into one's diet.  Its vitamin and mineral rich nature, and delicious flavor, make it a great addition to one's seasonal repertoire.


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