**Artichoke: A Versatile and Nutritious Vegetable**
Artichoke is a highly benefi cial food that has been cultivated for centuries and was initially used as a royal delicacy before becoming a common dietary item. It is a plant that can also be grown at home, and despite being somewhat challenging to clean, cooking with artichoke is easy and incredibly nutritious. In the following article, you can fi nd all the relevant information. Artichoke has a deep-rooted history and was first cultivated in Ethiopia. It later spread to Egypt and was eventually introduced to Europe through Egypt. Artichoke, which is now one of the most consumed foods in Europe, combines with unique flavors in cuisines worldwide. In the 16th century, artichoke was considered a noble plant in Europe and could only be consumed by royalty. Over time, it has become a source of well-being for many people.
Known as Cynara Scolymus in the scientific world, artichoke belongs to the Asteraceae family and is an herbaceous plant with blue and purple flowers. Depending on the climate and soil in which it is grown, the height of the plant can vary between 60 cm and 160 cm. Artichoke is classified as a perennial plant, and its homeland is Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, where it is mainly produced.
Although artichoke is cultivated in various parts of the world, those grown around the Mediterranean are known to have a much more flavorful taste. The artichoke plant has long stems and leaves, and the head is covered with thick, protective bracts. The leaf sections are stemless and dark green.
What Are the Characteristics of Artichoke?
Artichoke is a vegetable that can be planted throughout the year. In the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, it can be planted in October-November, while in the Marmara Region, it is more suitable to plant in April-May for better results. Essentially, artichoke is the bud of a flower, and it gained fame with the discovery of the lower base of the flower. This region is grown and marketed as it is fleshy and delicious.
Artichokes are harvested when the flower has not yet emerged, but the base has become fibrous and hardened. If this process is delayed, the artichoke will bloom, and it should not be consumed after that moment. When examining the oldest artichokes, a wild type called “cardoon” stands out. A plant reminiscent of thistle has been consumed since the 15th and 16th centuries.
How Is Artichoke Cultivated?
Artichoke prefers soil rich in nutrients and has deep roots. In addition to monthly fertilizer supplementation, the plant should be regularly supported with mineral peat. Artichoke cannot thrive in cold climates and should be kept indoors during the winter. Apart from growing outdoors, you can also grow artichoke in a large pot in your home. For this, it is important that your balcony is enclosed.
Those who want to grow artichokes at home should keep their balcony temperature at least 2 degrees. When the bud of the plant, which grows slowly, hardens, it is ready to be harvested. It can be cut and taken starting from the base. It will stay fresh for a while longer.
What Are the Varieties of Artichoke?
It is known that artichoke varieties diff er according to the region where they are grown. Especially being a plant of warm climates, artichoke can vary depending on the soil and fertilizer used in these regions.
There are artichoke varieties with foreign names such as Violet de Provence, Green Globe, Green Medium-Sized, and Romanesco C3. In addition to these, there are also varieties such as Big Green, Big Purple, Chewing Gum, Bayrampaşa, Thorny, and Wild Artichoke.
What Are the Benefits of Artichoke?
Artichoke, known scientifically as Cynara Scolymus, is a food with a fibrous structure and a vitamin-rich content. It is among the foods consumed by many people to stay healthy. Although its taste and smell may be disturbing to some, it is possible to suppress both its odor and taste depending on how it is prepared.
Artichoke has a positive effect on the digestive and excretory systems due to its vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C content. It can prevent indigestion and is also a solution for constipation. Those who smoke excessively, have liver problems, and suffer from diseases similar to jaundice should definitely consume artichokes.
Containing a wide range of minerals from phosphorus to zinc, artichoke meets the body’s mineral needs. It also helps control high blood pressure. Artichoke is the fi rst recommendation of the medical world for those with high cholesterol and heart problems. In addition to these benefits, this vegetable, which accelerates blood circulation, also helps maintain blood sugar balance, making it a remedy for diabetics. It reduces the risk of colon cancer and is an excellent diuretic. Its richness in iron makes it an alternative treatment for anemia patients.
Artichoke juice is also used to benefit from its properties. To get the most out of this food, the juice should be prepared and used. For this process, place 1 artichoke in a glass with 1-2 cups of water, boil it for 15 minutes, and let it steep with the lid closed. You can consume 1 cup of this mixture, hot or cold, before breakfast and lunch for 3 weeks. You can store artichoke juice in the refrigerator for up to 1 week without spoiling.
Remember that artichoke juice should not be consumed by those with blockages and gallbladder problems. People with allergic tendencies should be cautious. Excessive consumption can cause gas problems. If you are taking medication, consult your doctor before starting the treatment with potential side effects.
If you pay attention to the above points while applying the treatment, you will benefit greatly for weight loss and your health. Artichoke, with its low calorie content, helps those who want to lose weight. It also helps detoxify the body effectively.
How Should Artichoke Be Cooked?
Artichokes are mostly cooked with olive oil, but they can also be prepared as stuff ed artichoke or in meat dishes. Artichoke pilaf, oven-baked artichoke, and puree are all delicious options. In addition to these, artichokes should be boiled to be consumed healthily without causing gas problems. Steam cooking will prevent the loss of nutrients. Soaking them in water for a few minutes after removing the tough outer leaves is suffi cient. After peeling the tough outer leaves, you can use the inside as you wish.
What Are the Side Eff ects of Artichoke?
Consuming artichoke regularly and in specifi c amounts is very healthy and benefi cial. However, excessive consumption can lead to diarrhea. It can also cause discomfort, occasional cramps, and abdominal pain. In addition, artichoke can cause gas problems and is not suitable for tidiItil