Globe artichokes

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When I first ordered a globe artichoke in a restaurant, I was in shock. They brought me this big thing looking like a flower, and I was completely confused and embarrassed not knowing how to eat it! Of course I realized quite soon its not really hard, as well that it is incredible delicious. Not to talk about nutritional factors and how healthy it is.

Recently started the artichoke season, that is why i decided to write about them. Dont be scared to try it. Many people don’t know how it tastes and I guarantee you its one of the most tasty, healthy and low calorie snacks you can find. They are low in calories and fat; 100 g of this flower bud just carries 47 calories. Nonetheless, it is a rich source of dietary fiber and anti-oxidants. It provides 5.4 g per 100 g, about 14% of RDA fiber. Dietary-fiber helps control constipation conditions, decreases bad or “LDL” cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines and help cut down colon cancer risks by preventing toxic compounds in the food from absorption.

The globe artichoke is considered to be the ‘true’ artichoke and is the bud of a large member of the thistle family. It has no relation of the tuber-like Jerusalem artichoke that we mostly are familiar with.

The tender ends of the leaves and the base (or ‘heart’) of the bud are both edible; the tough outside leaves and the furry central choke and its surrounding leaves aren’t.arti-anatomy

When you decide to give it a try and but it in a grocery store go for specimens with tightly packed, crisp green or purple leaves with a slight bloom. Fresh ones should feel heavy for their size, and the leaves should ‘squeak’ when the bud is gently squeezed.

In smaller artichokes, the leaves are more tender (baby artichokes may not even have a choke); in larger ones, the hearts are bigger.

How to prepare it!?

To serve whole, cut the tough tips of the leaves off with scissors, holding the stalk to keep the artichoke steady. Using a knife, slice the base off, so that it will sit upright, before trimming off the pointed top (the younger the artichoke, the less you’ll need to cut off). Pull the pale centre leaves out, then scoop the choke out with a spoon, without disturbing the heart underneath.

To prevent browning, drop each one in a bowl of water to which a little lemon juice has been added. Cook them in a pan of boiling salted water for 35-45 minutes (when they’re ready you should easily be able to pull out a leaf). Drain upside down.

You can also just boil or steam the whole artichoke head, then pull the leaves off and dip them in hollandaise sauce, melted butter or garlic butter, drawing the leaf through your teeth to remove the tender flesh before discarding the rest. Or boil the head, pull out the central leaves, scoop out the choke and stuff with chopped garlic and parsley, grated parmesan and bread crumbs before drizzling with olive oil and baking in the oven.

They can also be barbecued or grilled: cut in half lengthways, remove the choke, brush with olive oil and grill for 30 minutes, until tender.

I guarantee its worth to give it a try!

Bon appétit!

xx, MM

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Artichoke on a white background

Nutrients:Artichoke (Cynara scolymus), raw,
Nutrition value per 100 g.
ORAC value 6552 TE/100 g.(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

 

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 47 Kcal 2%
Carbohydrates 10.51 g 8%
Protein 3.27 g 6%
Total Fat 0.15 g 0.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 5.4 g 14%
Vitamins
Folates 68 µg 17%
Niacin 1.046 mg 6.5%
Pantothenic acid 0.338 mg 7%
Pyridoxine 0.116 mg 9%
Riboflavin 0.066 mg 5%
Thiamin 0.072 mg 6%
Vitamin C 11.7 mg 20%
Vitamin A 13 IU 0.5%
Vitamin E 0.19 mg 1%
Vitamin K 14.8 µg 12%
Electrolytes
Sodium 94 mg 6%
Potassium 370 mg 8%
Minerals
Calcium 44 mg 4%
Copper 0.231 mg 27%
Iron 1.28 mg 16%
Magnesium 60 mg 15%
Manganese 0.256 mg 11%
Phosphorus 90 mg 13%
Selenium 0.2 µg <0.5%
Zinc 0.49 mg 4.5%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-alpha 8 µg
Crypto-xanthin 0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 464 µg

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