Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Artichoke

I admit, the artichoke looks quite challenging compared to the neatly packaged artichoke hearts sold in the grocery store. This should not stop you from enjoying the vegetable that is one the highest in antioxidants.  
The artichoke, which originated in North Africa and still grow in the wild there, comes from the Arabic term Ardi-Shoki meaning "ground thorny". They are grown in warm areas in a hardiness zone 7 and above. Once harvested they can stay fresh for 2 weeks or longer. 

Whole artichoke preparation is easy.
  • The stem is trimmed off to the artichoke can sit flush
  • Some outer thorny leaves are removed
  • About an inch off the top is cut off with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors
  • The artichokes then steam for 50 to 60 minutes in water with cut up garlic

Once they are steamed the leaves easily peel off. You drag the leaves between your teeth eating the pulpy flesh. You can prepare vegan hollandaise or lemon dipping sauces to add flavors. This is done until you reach the center. Carefully cutting away the base stem you pull out the center of the artichoke, or the artichoke heart and this is eaten entirely.

I hope you will give the artichoke a try if you havent. Besides from being so tasty they are packed with healthy antioxidants which we all need on a daily basis. 

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