Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ode To The Artichoke

Ode to the Artichoke
The artichoke
With a tender heart
Dressed up like a warrior,
Standing at attention,
It built a small helmet under it’s scales... 

 ~Pablo Neruda, Ode To The Artichoke 

Do not let the thorny leaves of the artichoke discourage you. Within this member of the thistle family lies a treasure for the palate and a boon to the body. An important element of Mediterranean cuisine, and a native to the region, the artichoke is the edible flower bud of a thistle-like plant in the sunflower family and is eaten as a vegetable. It is low in calories and according to the USDA, one medium artichoke is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, magnesium as well as a natural source of antioxidants.

We love to eat artichokes too much to let them bloom, but if we did, we’d be blessed with a beautiful lavender flower. However, judging by its popularity in international cuisines, seems most folks feel that the taste of the artichoke heart in Greek salads and artichoke dips is a worthy trade-off.

Some interesting tidbits about artichokes include: 

  • Artichokes are one of the oldest foods know to humans.
  • Nearly one hundred percent of all artichokes grown commercially in the United States are grown in California.
  • Marilyn Monroe was the first official California Artichoke Queen in 1949.

Humm…if Miss Monroe ate artichokes, was that the secret behind her appeal? Quick, rush to Ziziki’s for your daily dose of artichokes!


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