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Ingredient Spotlight: Artichokes

artichokes

With warmer weather, springtime brings in a delicious new crop of seasonal produce. If you’re not familiar with what produce is in season and when, spring is a perfect time to start learning and cooking with the season’s finest.

We wrote earlier about ramps, the vegetable that inspires a mad rush to the greenmarkets when it becomes available. Another favorite of ours is the artichoke. Artichokes are abundant in early spring, but in the fall you can still find quality artichokes from California. Due to cooler temperatures, fall artichokes often tend to be tinged with brown from the frost. Some say the frost enhances the flavor, giving a more nutty taste, while others prefer them without the flaky brown surface.

 

Artichokes: Part of a healthy diet

Artichokes are a member of the thistle family, which is known for its beneficial properties for the liver. Artichokes contain cynarin, a phenolic acid compound that helps the liver maintain a healthy state.

One medium-sized artichoke contains only 60 calories, and 6.5 grams of fiber. Having one with dinner will provide you with a beneficial helping of magnesium, vitamin C, folate and iron.

 

Cook with artichokes

Cooking these thistly vegetables doesn’t have to be intimidating. Start by washing them, then trim off the prickly tips and steam or boil until easily pierced at the base with a knife.

Try this simple Braised Artichokes recipe from Smitten Kitchen or Greatist’s Lemon Artichoke dip, a healthy twist on classic artichoke dip.

 

- Alivia Duran

 

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