WHAT IS AN ARTICHOKE?
This bizarre food is the friendly yet intimidating alien of the gourmet world. Originally from Sicily, wealthy Romans considered it a delicacy when served with vinegar and honey. However it’s actually a thistle and the part that you eat is the flower (pre-bloom)! While this succulent mystery looks like a pain to eat, it’s a straight-forward and delightful dish (especially when braised). One of the wealthiest in terms of anti-oxidants, the artichoke has been a Mediterranean staple for over 2,000 years. When picking out the right alien flower for you, stick with leaves that are tightly bunched together and are free of any brown spots or signs of bruising. Don’t be afraid to use kitchen scissors instead of a knife, your work will actually go faster.
WHY ARE ARTICHOKES GOOD FOR YOU?
They’re rich in antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C.
WHEN ARE ARTICHOKES IN SEASON?
Artichokes are ready to harvest twice a year, mid-Spring and mid-Fall.
HOW SHOULD ARTICHOKES BE STORED?
Clean and rinse in water but do not dry them. Instead store the heads in a ziplock bag (either open or perforated to allow air flow) for about a week in the bottom of your refrigerator.
DO ARTICHOKES MAKE EVERYTHING TASTE SWEETER?
The answer here is, it depends on your genetic code. A little under 1 out of every 2 people will be biologically predisposed to have this happen. The artichoke contains the acidic compound cynarin which actually works in a counter-intuitive fashion. It prevents your sweet taste buds from working. However as you continue to eat, this acid is then washed away and your mouth is suddenly overwhelmed with a burst of sweetness (as your taste buds work again). This sudden contrast then fades as your senses continue to work as normal again.