You might be thinking “Oh man! What IS that?” If you are… it’s an Artichoke (Eurochoke actually). *No relation to the Jerusalem artichoke.
If you already know what it is, you’re probably thinking “Wow, what a beaut!”
YUM!! Probably one of my all time favorite foods. Those Mediterraneans know how to eat! It was no surprise that the artichoke was the first food listed in 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Maybe it’s the letter “A”, or maybe because they’re Awesome!
“Artichokes are kind of like the lobster of the vegetable community – you really have to work to get at the good parts. The part that contains the meat is called the “heart,” even though it’s technically at the bottom of the plant. And it takes some digging to get there. Is is worth is? Definitely.” – Johnny Bowden, 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth
Artichoke extracts are a:
- Liver cleanser, even used in supplements (good source of silymarin)
- Bile-stimulant; a good thing!, used to treat indigestion. One study reported an 85% relief rate from patients
- Cholesterol treatment; test tube studies show a decrease in the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol
The artichoke is a good source of:
- Vitamins C & K
- A low-calorie snack! 25. Yeah. That’s probably like, 4 of those 100-calorie pack cookies
How to Pick an Artichoke
- Leaves squeak
How to Prepare an Artichoke
Grab a napkin, spoon, 3 bowls; artichoke, discarded leaves, and garlic butter, and prepare to eat!
- Cut the long stem off of the artichoke, leave 1/4″ or so
- I like to spread the leaves a bit (careful if the ends are pointy, they’re not on Eurochokes), and drizzle a tablespoon of flavored oil inside. I blend fresh rosemary, garlic, olive oil and a splash of balsamic.
- Boil a large pot of water (you can usually do up to 2 at a time) and add the artichokes. Cover and boil.
- Boil for an hour to start, then using tongs pull a leaf from close to the center. If the leaf won’t budge, boil for 20 more minutes and try again. Bite the soft meat at the end of the leaf. If it’s crunchy the artichoke isn’t done. If it’s soft then it’s ready. Make sure to keep the water level at least over 1/2 full, ‘choke and all.
- Eat the ends of the leaves where the grayish white meat is. Once you get to the center, scrape off the “fuzz” and then flip and scrape off the stem. You’re left with a shallow disc shaped “heart”, that’s alllll meat. Weird, and delicious. Even Jon, when asked to describe the taste said “I don’t know, nothing… is delicious a description?” I concur.
- My favorite way to eat them is with garlic butter. I’ll marinade the heart in it for a bit once I get there. They’re also delicious in Dijon mustard and even cold the next day dipped in french onion sour cream dip. Of course, they’re also amazing without a single condiment.
I hope this was a fun “Weird Food.” I don’t know for certain, that had I not grown up eating these regularly, that I would have dared make them myself. But it’s really the stove doing all the work. I’ve never grilled them, and raw is not my style with this food, but I’m sure those are ok too. I have had grilled baby artichokes, which are low hanging ‘chokes, and they are deeelicious. If you try a fresh one, you may no longer see the merit of canned hearts. And they’re in season right now!