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Artichoke is a variety of a species of thistle cultivated as a food. The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds and their stems when harvested before the flowers come into bloom. The plants usually bear several flowers. Once the flower blooms, its bud changes to a coarse, barely edible form. The uncultivated or wild variety of the species is called a cardoon.

The artichoke is a flower that grows mainly in the Mediterranean region and in California. Artichokes require a bit of preparation before they are cooked, but they contain a lot of flavor and many nutrients.

In Cooking

Artichoke has its own preparation metod before you to cook.

In the US, large globe artichokes are frequently prepared by removing all but 5–10 mm (0.2–0.4 in) or so of the stem. To remove thorns, which may interfere with eating, around a quarter of each scale can be cut off. The core of the stem tastes similar to the artichoke heart, and is edible.

In Spain, the more tender, younger, and smaller artichokes are used. They can be sprinkled with olive oil and left in hot ashes in a barbecue, sauteed in olive oil with garlic, with rice as a paella, or sautéed and combined with eggs in a tortilla.

In Italy, artichoke hearts in oil are the usual vegetable for 'spring' section of the 'Four Seasons' pizza (with olives for summer, mushrooms for autumn, and prosciutto for winter). A recipe well known in Rome is Jewish-style artichokes, which are deep-fried whole.

Stuffed artichoke recipes are abundant. A common Italian stuffing uses a mixture of bread crumbs, garlic, oregano, parsley, grated cheese, and prosciutto or sausage. A bit of the mixture is then pushed into the spaces at the base of each leaf and into the center before boiling or steaming. A similar recipe is popular in coastal Croatia.

Greek, aginares a la polita (artichokes city-style, referring to the city of Constantinople), a hearty, savory stew made with artichoke hearts, potatoes, and carrots, and flavored with onion, lemon, and dill. The finest examples are to be found on the island of Tinos, and in Iria and Kantia, two small villages in Argolida in the Peloponnese of southern Greece.

It can be Steamed, Boiled, Dip, Fried, Deep fried,Raw Artichoke and Parmigiano SaladBaked Artichoke HeartsSauteed Artichoke HeartsOil-Poached Artichoke Heart SaladRoasted Artichoke Hearts, Braised Artichoke Hearts, other Recipes

Health Benefits of artichoke:
1. High in Antioxidants

A study done by the USDA found that artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable and they ranked seventh in a study of the antioxidant levels of 1,000 different foods. Some of the powerful antioxidants in artichokes are quercertin, rutin, anthocyanins, cynarin, luteolin, and silymarin.

2. Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Studies done with artichoke leaf extract have found that they induce apoptosis (cell death) and reduce cell proliferation in many different forms of cancer, including prostate cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer. An Italian study found that a diet rich in the flavanoids present in artichokes reduces the risk of breast cancer.

3. Increased Bile Flow

The pulp of artichoke leaves contains a polyphenol antioxidant called cynarin which increases bile flow.

4. Good for the Liver 

Cynarin and another antioxidant, silymarin, artichokes are very beneficial to the liver. Studies have found they may even regenerate liver tissue. Artichokes have long been used in folk and alternative medicine as a treatment for liver ailments and the scientific studies are now proving them to be correct.

5. Better Digestion

Artichokes help the digestive system. They are a natural diuretic, they aid digestion, improve gallbladder function and, as mentioned above, they are of great benefit to the liver.

6. Cholesterol Reduction

Ingredients in artichoke leaves have been shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase. They raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL).

7. High in Fiber

One large artichoke contains a quarter of the recommended daily intake of fiber. A medium artichoke has more fiber than a cup of prunes.

Read More at Wikipedia.

Nutrition Data for Artichokes, (globe or french), raw (11007)

NutrientNutrient value per 100 gm1 artichoke, medium1 artichoke, large
Water84.94 g108.7232 g137.6028 g
Energy47 kcal60.16 kcal76.14 kcal
Protein3.27 g4.1856 g5.2974 g
Total lipid (fat)0.15 g0.192 g0.243 g
Carbohydrate, by difference10.51 g13.4528 g17.0262 g
Fiber, total dietary5.4 g6.912 g8.748 g
Sugars, total0.99 g1.2672 g1.6038 g
NutrientNutrient value per 100 gm1 artichoke, medium1 artichoke, large
Calcium, Ca44 mg56.32 mg71.28 mg
Iron, Fe1.28 mg1.6384 mg2.0736 mg
Magnesium, Mg60 mg76.8 mg97.2 mg
Phosphorus, P90 mg115.2 mg145.8 mg
Potassium, K370 mg473.6 mg599.4 mg
Sodium, Na94 mg120.32 mg152.28 mg
Zinc, Zn0.49 mg0.6272 mg0.7938 mg
NutrientNutrient value per 100 gm1 artichoke, medium1 artichoke, large
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid11.7 mg14.976 mg18.954 mg
Thiamin0.072 mg0.09216 mg0.11664 mg
Riboflavin0.066 mg0.08448 mg0.10692 mg
Niacin1.046 mg1.33888 mg1.69452 mg
Vitamin B-60.116 mg0.14848 mg0.18792 mg
Folate, DFE68 µg87.04 µg110.16 µg
Vitamin B-120 µg0 µg0 µg
Vitamin A, RAE1 µg1.28 µg1.62 µg
Vitamin A, IU13 IU16.64 IU21.06 IU
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.19 mg0.2432 mg0.3078 mg
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)0 µg0 µg0 µg
Vitamin D0 IU0 IU0 IU
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)14.8 µg18.944 µg23.976 µg
NutrientNutrient value per 100 gm1 artichoke, medium1 artichoke, large
Fatty acids, total saturated0.036 g0.04608 g0.05832 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated0.005 g0.0064 g0.0081 g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0.064 g0.08192 g0.10368 g
Cholesterol0 mg0 mg0 mg
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2013. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page
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