Artichokes are flower buds and are consumed before the flowers come into bloom. The image of a green elliptical collection of closely knit buds is how an artichoke is picturized. This picture is not the only artichoke but the only important variety of artichoke.
Types of Artichokes
The first imagery that our brain creates of an artichoke is the round California green globe artichoke which has been in the market since as long as the 1920’s. There are various other varieties of artichokes, and they are:
• Baby Anzio
This light red artichoke is usually only 1 inch in its diameter. It is often also called a distant relative of the Romanesco Artichoke.
• Big Heart
This artichoke has a large and fleshy base. It is called with the name due to its shape because of its fleshy base. These artichokes are excellent for stuffing.
• Classic Green Globe
This buttery tasting artichoke has a lot of flesh in the base and is generally 3 – 5 inches in its diameter.
It has reddish Violet hue and a unique rounded top. In comparison to the other artichokes, it is sweeter.
It is oblong and is wine red. Its heart is soft enough to be consumed raw, and also it takes time to mature.
The plump and dense Omaha is not as bitter as other artichokes and has sharply tapered red and green leaves.
Its deep wine color and fruity flavor make it a must-have for all. It has a tender stem and so steam quickly acts on it and can be consumed soon.
These artichokes though are vividly colored but have wonderful green tips. They weigh more than a pound.
It is again a distant member of the Italian Romanesco variety and has distinctive maroon leaves.
• Jerusalem Artichoke
The Jerusalem artichoke is one of the earliest known vegetables in the form of tubers. These tubers are generally knobby in appearance.
• Chinese Artichoke
This is one of the most sought-after dishes of Europe. These can be cooked or at times also consumed raw.
• Imperial Star
This is another globular artichoke with a diameter of around 3 – 4 inches.
This is an elongated artichoke which has a slight violet hue on the bracts. It is usually a native of Italy and takes about 100 days to mature.
This is the first product of the season, and just like Violetto their bracts too have a purple tinge.
There are other classifications of various types of artichokes which can be grouped and characterized like:
- Green artichokes of big size are:
- Camus De Bretagne
- Purple artichokes of big size are:
- Green artichokes of medium size are:
- Blanca de Tudela
- Blanc D Oran
- Spiral artichokes are:
- Spinoso Sardo
- Purple artichokes of medium size are:
- Violet de Province
Health Benefits of Artichokes
Who knew a cluster of buds could be edible and more, so could come in so many types. Well, this cluster does not only come in such varieties but is hugely beneficial for our health. It is rich in some of the most important nutrients needed by our body.
Some of its benefits have been listed below:
• They stand at the 7th position in the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list. Antioxidants themselves are known to be one of the most beneficial nutrients for our body. They prevent cell damage and delay the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
• This vegetable is a good source of folate, which is known to lower depression and decrease the defects during birth. It also helps in maintaining a healthy heart.
• It is high in dietary fiber which further assists in the process of digestion. Inulin is the unique fiber present in artichokes which is one of the best probiotics in the food supply.
• Artichokes are rich in Vitamin C which in turn is needed for growth, development, and repair of all our body tissues. It helps in the absorption of Iron, and further also helps in maintaining a healthy immune system.
• These are also a great source of Vitamin K which helps in preventing many diseases like osteoporosis, diabetes and other cardiovascular issues.
• Artichokes contain two compounds called the Cynarin and the Silymarin which improve the health of our liver by detoxifying it.
• The phytonutrients which are a part of these artichokes are also known to strengthen our bones and help build bone density.
• The vitamin K also protect the neuron and thus, guards us against any kind of brain damage.
• Artichokes assist in weight loss as its fiber swells up in our stomach after soaking the fluids, which makes us feel full for long and thus, helps us cut on our calorie count simulating weight loss.
• Artichokes are considered as one of the most effective natural remedy to control and monitor cholesterol levels of our boy.
What Are The Uses of Artichokes?
The artichokes are not just diverse in their variety and benefits but are also extremely useful to humans.
Some of Artichokes use have also been enlisted:
• It is used in curing indigestion of any form. It can prevent nausea, flatulence, vomiting and even stomach pain.
• The leaves of the artichoke plant are used in the herbal medicines in the form of tinctures, capsules, and tablets.
• Artichokes can be used to prevent the reoccurrence of stones in the gallbladder.
• Another one of its basic uses is its culinary used. It can be cooked in various forms with or without combining it with other vegetables and can also be consumed raw.
• It is also used to prevent heart burns.
It is indeed truly said that do not judge a book by its cover. These beautiful artichokes have a sought of the attraction of their own, and with such huge benefits and impacts on our health, we must try these edible structures at least once before we decide not to include them in our diet.
Also, if you are unable to get your hands – on artichokes on the shelves, then the canned varieties are also not a bad option. So, do let us know your experience with this gift of nature.