Foods by Color: Artichokes

artichokes

A few weekends ago I was at the farmer’s market picking out some artichokes when I overheard a conversation that went something like this: “wow, those artichokes are beautiful, should we get some?” “No, they are so much work and not worth the effort.” While there is some truth to this last statement, artichokes can be a bit of work, I have to respectfully disagree that they are not worth the effort.  I didn’t butt in on their conversation but I validated my decision to buy my artichokes by reminding myself how amazing they taste and how packed full of nutrition they are. A nutritionist, Johnny Bowden, has compared artichokes to the lobster of vegetable community, “You have to really work to get at the good parts.  The part that contains the meat is called the “heart,” even though it’s technically the bottom of the plant.  And it takes some digging to get there.  Is it worth it? Definitely.” I couldn’t agree more.

Health Benefits

Artichokes help to cleanse our livers, you’ll notice that artichoke extract is an ingredient in many liver health supplements because silymarin is a plant compound that helps protect and nourish the liver found in artichokes.  Artichoke leaves contain many chemical compounds that are credited with increasing liver bile to aid indigestion, treating high cholesterol and triglycerides, and preventing oxidation of LDL cholesterol.  Artichokes contain magnesium, potassium, some folate, caratenoids lutein and zeaxathin and a good amount of fiber.

Selection and Storage

You can often find artichokes year round but their peak season is spring, from March to May.  When selecting an artichoke choose one that is deep green, feels heavy  for its size, with tight leaves.  The leaves should produce a squeaking sound when pressed against each other.

Cooking Tips

You can cook them in a pot:

How to cook Artichokes

From Illustrated Bites

Or

 you can cook them in a slow cooker using this tutorial from The Kitchn

Or

you can grill them following this tutorial from Cooking on the Weekends

Artichoke Recipe Round-Up

Artichoke Recipe Round Up

creamy spinach and artichoke macaroni and cheese with gouda

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese with Gouda from Sarah Cucina Bella

baked ziti with spinach artichokes and pesto

Baked Ziti with Spinach, Artichokes and Pesto from Inspired Taste

stuffed purple italian artichokes

Stuffed Purple Italian Artichokes from Family Spice

spinach and artichoke grilled cheese

Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese from Joy the Baker

spinach and artichoke flatbread pizza

Spinach and Artichoke Flatbread Pizza from I Wash You Dry

tortellini soup with artichokes

Tortellini Soup with Artichokes from Foodie Crush

baked artichokes

Baked Artichokes from Cherry Bomb Kitchen

potato artichoke and goat cheese gratin

Potato, Artichoke and Goat Cheese Gratin from Domestic Fits

spinach mac and cheese

Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese from Country Cleaver

hot kale artichoke dip with five cheeses

Hot Kale and Artichoke Dip with Five Cheeses from The Cozy Apron

artichokes with brie de meaux sauce

Artichokes with Brie de Meaux Sauce from Cooking in Sens

artichoke rosemary tart with polenta

Artichoke Rosemary Tart with Polenta from Food Wanderings

spinach and artichoke pizza

Spinach and Artichoke Pizza from Half Baked Harvest

chicken bacon and artichoke pasta with creamy garlic sauce

Chicken, Bacon and Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce from Iowa Girl Eats

Eat more artichokes! After all, we are what we eat:

the best part is your heart

{Sources: 150 Healthiesst Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden Photo/Art Sources: Ali Bubba & Hobo Thoreau on Etsy}

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Comments

  1. What a delicious collection of artichoke recipes! Thank you for linking to my tutorial on how to grill them. 🙂 And I love the bottom artichoke quote. Sweet.

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