We Love Artichokes!

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The globe artichoke is a wide variety of the thistle family that has been cultivated as a food. The edible portion comprises the flower bud before it comes into bloom. Nutritious, fat-free and lo-cal, artichokes are so versatile they can be added to salads, mixed with pasta, mixed into casseroles,stuffed, chopped up and contained in cheese spreads, grilled or appreciated just plain boiled with melted butter or garlic mayo. With their gentle, slightly nutty taste, they make a excellent addition to so many dishes, cold or hot.

The French love boiled fresh artichokes dipped in dijon mustard (what else?) With a little balsamic vinegar. Italians savor stuffed artichokes with a hot breadcrumb mix, as part of their favorite antipasto plates or added to risotto and pasta. Spanish cuisine is brimming with artichoke recipes, since this vegetable is at the top of Spain’s hit parade. They use them in many of ways, such as tapas (little tasting meals), sauced, marinated, and added to rice dishes and stews. Big fans of grilling and stir frying, Thai cooks serve the artichoke in its basic form with hot dipping sauces and noodles. Chinese prefer a tuber-like vegetable often known as a Chinese or Japan artichoke but actually isn’t related in any respect.

Artichokes arrived in America from the late nineteenth century with Italian immigrants, sadly too late for foodie president Thomas Jefferson to enjoy. But one could be sure he’d have been a major fan and tried to grow them in his mansion gardens. They hold an annual Festival in the month of May, in peak season, where hundreds of yummy variations can be peeled, such as broiled, sauteed, baked, fried, marinated, pickled, refreshing, in soups, and of course cupcakes and ice cream. (Can I make that up?) Western farmers started producing the vegetable commercially from the 1920’s and sent them across the nation.

Egypt, Spain and Argentina also top the list for artichoke production, together with the U.S. ranking ninth (just 10 percent of Italy’s manufacturing). But Americans love this vegetable like no other nation, in some of their most popular variants:

Artichokes are a relative newcomer to the U.S. but have been adopted by one and all. At times they might be somewhat expensive but can be enjoyed year ’round canned or frozen. For the lowest price and the freshest available, they need to be purchased at peak season, Raccoon Control Service in Port St Lucie FLwhich starts in the month of March. If you like them just boiled they require a half hour to cook, less time using a pressure cooker (which isn’t for the kitchen coward). But if you will need a fast fix or need to add them into a dish, then the canned hearts work just fine. So why not expand your vegetable world a little and require an artichoke to lunch. You’ll find all choked up for certain.

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