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Food Of The Month:  ARTICHOKES

artichokeArtichokes are in season, but most people don't try them-- they're strange-looking, prickly, and a lot of work to eat.  However, if you give them a chance, you'll find that artichokes can be a really delicious addition to your diet!


Interesting artichoke facts:  the artichoke is actually an edible thistle!  Most commercially-grown artichokes are grown here in California, and there is even an artichoke festival in Castroville, CA every year (I believe William Hung sang there this year).

Artichoke Nutrition:

-25 calories per artichoke

-6g total carbohydrates (2% RDA) 

-3g fiber (12% RDA) 

-2% RDA vitamin A

-10% RDA vitamin C

- 2% RDA calcium

-2% RDA iron

 -5% RDA potassium

-6% RDA phosphorus,

10% RDA magnesium

8% RDA manganese

10% RDA chromium


How to cook an artichoke: Cut off stems and snip prickly ends if desired.  Cover with boiling water for about   10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. 

Artichokes are great with lemon squeezed over them, and with balsamic vinegar-- they are even good halved and put on the grill with your favourite marinade!

Here is a great artichoke recipe:

Artichoke and Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Roasted Pepper Dressing
Makes 8 servings, each serving equals two servings of vegetables
Source: Produce for Better Health


8 Artichokes (medium size), prepared and cooked as directed for whole artichokes
4 Red bell peppers
Lettuce leaves
½ cup Red onion, sliced
½ cup Ripe olives, sliced
1 Bell pepper (roasted), reserved from salad preparation (for Dressing)
1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar (for Dressing)
¼ cup White wine or cider vinegar (for Dressing)
2 cloves Garlic, minced (for Dressing)
1 Tsbp Basil (fresh), chopped or 1 tsp. crushed dried basil (for Dressing)
1 tsp Rosemary (fresh), chopped or ½ tsp crushed dried rosemary (for Dressing)

Halve artichokes lengthwise; scoop out center petals and fuzzy centers. Remove outer leaves and reserve to garnish salad, or to use for snacks another time. Trim out hearts and slice thinly. Cover and set aside. Place whole bell peppers under preheated broiler; broil under high heat until charred on all sides, turning frequently with tongs. Remove from oven; place in a paper bag for 15 minutes to steam skins. Trim off stems of peppers; remove seeds and ribs. Strip off skins; slice peppers into julienne strips. Reserve one-fourth of the bell pepper strips to prepare dressing.
To assemble salads, arrange lettuce leaves on 8 salad plates. Arrange sliced artichoke hearts, remaining bell pepper strips, red onion and olive slices on lettuce. Garnish with a couple of cooked artichoke leaves, if desired.

For dressing, in blender or food processor container place reserved bell pepper strips, vinegars, garlic, basil, rosemary and sugar. Cover and process until well blended and nearly smooth. Spoon dressing over salads.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 88, Fat 1g, Calories from Fat 12%, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 5g, Sodium 189mg.