The beautiful globe of the artichoke

Looking for a great prebiotic and antioxidant? Try a fresh artichoke.

Seeing them on the farmers’ market table encouraged me to buy half a dozen globe artichokes and see what I could do with them as a fresh vegetable.

I trimmed and boiled them for ten minutes in water, then strained them and replaced the water with white vinegar before boiling for a further five minutes. This worked perfectly.

I then cut them in half and removed the outside petals until the tough ones were gone, leaving a tender heart.

I couldn’t resist and taste-tested the freshly cooked hearts. They were mild and tender with a gentle (green) flavour.

At this point, I decided to bottle them with some mild organic olive oil and a few sliced cloves of new seasons garlic.

They look really good in the jar. I’m going to leave them to fuse the garlic and oil for a few days and add them to any other vegetable dish we have over the coming weeks.

Let’s talk artichokes

fresh artichokeThe benefits of these interesting veggies are many. They are packed full of a number of vital antioxidants and phytonutrients, such as quercetin, rutin, gallic acid and cynarin. Antioxidants are what our bodies need to combat free radicals, slowing the onset of diseases. Artichokes contain a powerful flavonoid, silymarin, which is an effective antioxidant, and liver protectant.

The powerful substance cynarin in artichokes is a natural remedy for bringing cholesterol back to a healthy level.

Artichokes are also known as a prebiotic, to improve gut flora, reducing symptoms related to digestive disease and boosting immunity. Studies have shown that consuming the soluble fibre found in artichokes is a great way to keep off visceral fat — the kind that accumulates around your organs. A diet high in fibre helps maintain a healthy weight and can reduce the risk for serious conditions, including colon cancer, heart disease and more.

Artichokes provide iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, copper, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, thiamine.

What’s not to love?