artichoke

March begins the prime season for buying fresh artichokes. This unique looking vegetable brings back so many memories from my childhood. We used to have them frequently at our family dinners, taking turns pulling the delicious leaves, eating them one by one until we got to the prized center—the artichoke heart.  It was difficult to share this part, but we found a way to divvy it up and savor every bite!

Artichokes are an excellent source of fiber with more than 9-10 grams in a medium artichoke (that’s more than a third of what an adult needs in a day). They are also a rich source of potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C, and folate.  According to the USDA, artichokes are one of the most antioxidant rich foods, making them a superfood that you should include on your shopping list this week!

I know this superfood can look intimidating, as many people have told me that they pass by the artichoke in the market because they just don’t know how to prepare them. Well, fear no more! Here is a quick and simple guide to preparing and eating artichokes.  Remember, artichokes are the superfood. If you dip every single leaf in butter or mayonnaise, you are adding a lot of saturated fat and calories. Try to moderate the sauces and enjoy the flavor of the vegetable in its natural state!

5 Easy Steps to Cook an Artichoke:

1. If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of their leaves, use kitchen scissors to cut the tips off the leaves. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking.

2. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the top of the artichoke.

3. Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke.

4. Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.  You can leave it upside down in a bowl of cold water to very thoroughly clean it.

5. To Steam: Put a couple inches of water in a large bottle. Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.  You can also grill the artichoke on the BBQ or roast in the oven after you steam them for more flavor.

Enjoy!

Be Well, Be NutritionWise.

~ Nicole Meadow, MPN, RD of NutritionWise

This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.