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All About Artichokes

All About Artichokes

Artichokes don’t often make it on the easiest-to-grow or easiest-to-prepare lists of gardeners and foodies. But that doesn’t mean they’re not well worth growing and/or bringing into your kitchen. They are a nutritious, delicious treat.

Health Benefits

The globe artichokes you see in the store are the edible flower portion of a larger, peculiar-looking plant. The edible, fleshy portions, including the heart, are rich in nutrients. According to fitday.com, eating artichokes provides the following health benefits:

Cardiovascular health: The high quantities of potassium in the vegetable help to maintain normal heart rhythm. Research studies have shown a strong link between high potassium diets and reduced risk of stroke. Potassium also tones down the effect of sodium on blood pressure. This helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, which promotes good health of the heart. Certain phytonutrients in the vegetable help to lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Immunity: The artichoke is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants. This helps to boost the body’s immunity against diseases. It also promotes good health. These potent nutrients have been found helpful in the maintenance of healthy cells especially in cases of prostate cancer. This is because they inhibit the proliferation of the cancerous cells. The vegetable has high contents of vitamin C which supports a healthy immune system. Color pigments in the vegetable reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Digestion: The vegetable is rich in dietary fiber which supports a healthy digestive system.

Bone and muscle health: Vitamin C assists in the formation of collagen. This protein supports the development of cartilage, bones, muscles and blood vessels. Magnesium helps to build healthy bones. It also supports muscle functions. Potassium supports the central nervous system and muscle functions.

Cooking Artichokes

You can prepare artichokes in many ways, from steaming to stuffing them with yummy ingredients. You can even pickle them, or perhaps use them as a base for creamy dips.

To enjoy an artichoke all on its own—maybe just with some melted butter to go along with it—follow the fun, tantalizing instructions in How to Cook an Artichoke.

To prepare stuffed artichokes, trim the artichoke and then scrape out the center (called the choke). Stuff the artichokes with a mixture of your choice and then set in a bit of stock in a baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. For completed instructions and stuffing combo ideas, see Stuffed Artichokes Recipe.

Need additional ideas and tips? Here you go!

Growing Artichokes

Artichokes are most often grown in areas with lengthy growing seasons, but thanks to varieties that mature faster, there’s a good chance you can grow artichokes where you live. An annual variety called ‘Imperial Star’ is a good option to try.

If you try this variety, grow in an area that gets full sun and amend the soil with plenty of compost.

See Artichokes for Every Climate for more tips and seed sources.

Check out these additional articles on healthy foods:

Photo by Tim Nauman

Read more: All recipes, Diet & Nutrition, Food, General Health, Health, Lawns & Gardens, Vegetarian, , , , , , , , ,

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Shelley Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook is an Associate Editor at Mother Earth News—North America’s most popular magazine about sustainable, self-reliant living—where she works on exciting projects such as Organic Gardening content and the Vegetable Garden Planner. Shelley is particularly interested in organic gardening, small-scale, local food production, waste reduction, food preservation and cooking. In her spare time, she posts in her personal blog, The Rowdy Radish.

137 comments

+ add your own
12:26PM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

Love learning about different foods. Didn't know much about the artichoke before.

6:43PM PDT on Jul 2, 2014

Thanks for the information.

2:56PM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Ty

5:43AM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

Thank you :)

5:39AM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

I did try cooking them once but it wasn't a success. Have had them at a Italian restaurant as a part of breakfast and it was beautiful.

5:37AM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

Noted thanks

12:26AM PDT on May 4, 2014

Thanks

7:57PM PDT on May 1, 2014

Great article. Thank you.

12:36AM PDT on May 1, 2014

Marinated artichoke hearts are the only way to go.

2:30AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

:) Thank you again.

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