Fresh artichokes are available in the markets from March to May
Artichoke is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows in coastal regions of Europe. Today’s artichoke is a cultivated form of a wild plant of Latin name Cynara cardunculus. It is grown mostly in the Mediterranean region, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and in the US state of California. Artichoke is often grown in olive groves in Italy as an additional crop. It is a strong plant up to 2 meters tall. The leaves are about 80 cm long. The leaves are hairy on the reverse and without spines. Name a large flower head (8 to 15 cm) with a fleshy, succulent inflorescence, tile-like wrapped in fleshy sheathing leaves and a succulent base. These juicy portions are actually a favorite vegetable.
Preparing artichokes for eating
First, with a sharp knife, cut the stems and lower leaves so that the artichoke stands – before heat treatment. Then remove the sharp tips of the leaves with scissors or a knife and wash the cleaned artichokes well under a stream of cold water. Cook in boiling water for 35-45 minutes with the addition of lemon juice. Artichokes are cooked when the leaves are lightly separated. Drain the artichokes with the tops facing down. The central part of the artichoke is not edible, so discard it when eating or remove it immediately with a spoon after cooking. Raw artichoke is difficult to digest so it is not eaten. Flowering is from April to August with a stunning blue or purple flower wreath up to 4 cm. The harvest is during June and July when the flower heads ripen. The origin of the artichoke is not known but it is believed that the wild plant first grew in the Mediterranean. Artichoke has long been used for eating and as a medicine. It can be cooked in water or steamed with or without salt. Organic acids from this vegetable evaporate quickly if the pot is not covered during cooking. In a covered pot, the artichokes turn brown due to the influence of enzymes and the oxidation of chlorophyll. The color of the wraps will not change if vinegar or lemon juice is added to the pot. Cooked artichoke in 100 grams gives 50 kilocalories.
The composition of artichoke is as follows:
-Total contains 11.39 g of carbohydrates-of which only one gram of sugar, 8.6 g of fiber, 0.34 g of fat and 2.89 g of protein.
-contains a lot of vitamin A, B complex vitamins, vitamins C and K and a little vitamin E.
-contains minerals iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc
-artichokes contain a lot of phyto-nutrients (quercetin, rutin, anthocyanins, luteolin and cinnarine) which act as antioxidants in which artichoke is the first among vegetables.
Fresh artichokes can be bought from March to May, ie before the flowering of the plant. There are different sizes of artichokes. There are small baby artichokes (weight 50-80 g) and large artichokes weighing up to 500 g.
Buying and storing artichokes
Green, firm and compact specimens should be chosen in which the inner leaves are firmly attached around the central part of the artichoke. Artichokes should be prepared immediately (or further 2-3 days after purchase) because they quickly lose moisture. They are stored in vegetable compartments inside the refrigerator to keep them fresh for longer. Sprinkle the artichokes with a little water and put them in a plastic bag (to keep the necessary moisture) if you are not going to prepare these vegetables right away.
Artichoke is a useful remedy
For centuries, artichoke has been a prized vegetable for privileged and wealthy people. Until the early 20th century, people considered artichoke to be a strong aphrodisiac. Artichoke was found in images of ancient Egyptians in the tombs of pharaohs. The first detailed description comes from Theophrastus of Lesbos (Aritsotel’s pupil) from 371 BC. It seems that the plant was thus transferred to Rome and Western Europe. Artichoke supports digestion, strengthens the function of the liver and bile and lowers bad cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of arteriosclerosis and heart disease. Improves the condition of patients with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory abdominal pain (dyspepsia). It has been used to treat chronic inflammatory conditions of the liver, watery diseases and later against diabetes (diabetes) and atherosclerosis. In the 1930s, it was known that artichoke leaf extract affected blood cholesterol levels. The writings of traditional medicine say that artichoke leaf tea restores appetite, helps digest fat, stimulates urination, heals the liver and gallbladder, removes uric acid (urea) from the blood, a toxic product of a disturbed substance in the body, cures jaundice, congestion and cirrhosis of the liver. It helps against diseased spleen, sand in the kidneys, gout, rheumatism and swelling from water sickness. Satrium helps people against azotemia (poisoning by toxins of their own body caused by diseased kidneys, urinary retention and the like).
The importance of artichoke is more important today when people suffer from indigestion after heavy eating. The causes of disorders are most often a life burdened with worries and stress, lack of physical activity, poor eating habits, lack of daily routine in the diet. The consequences are more frequent pressure in the upper abdomen, a feeling of bloating, noisy bowel movements, and sometimes cramps. The beneficial effect of artichoke easily and completely naturally solves the digestion of heavy meals.
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