The artichoke is the queen of winter vegetables. Discover in this post its origins, varieties, nutritional properties and how to use it in the kitchen.
It is a vegetable known for centuries for its great beneficios for our health. The artichoke is native to Northwest Africa and it seems that the Greeks and Romans already knew it. It came to Spain from the hand of the Arabs, who called it al-jarshuf (tongues of the earth).Currently our country is the second largest producer in the world after Italy, with about 30% of production.
The artichoke is the fruit of the artichoke ( Cynara scolimus ), a plant that belongs to the family ofAsteraceae with more than a thousand genera and more than 2,000 species, of which very few are cultivated. The most popular varieties are grouped according to their geographical name, marked by their place of origin: Blanca de Tudela, Madrileña, Romanesco, California, etc.
The main component of artichokes is water, so it is a low calorie food. The major minerals are sodium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. A serving of about 200 gr gives us 33% of the phosphorus you needthe body a day, 18% of potassium, 15% of magnesium and 13% of calcium. Among the vitamins, the presence of vitamins of group B - B1, B6 and folic acid - and small amounts of vitamin C stand out.
However the aCachofa stands out above all for containing a series of substances that are found in very small amounts in its composition, but which have remarkable physiological effects, such as cynarin , which helps protect the liver –aumStarts bile secretion and facilitates the emptying of the gallbladder-, or inulin , a fiber that reduces the concentration of sugar in the blood after meals and favors the balance of the intestinal flora.
To substances mencionadas must be added others such as pectin, mucilage and trace elements. The properties of artichokes are not explained by the particular effect of any of its components, but by the combination of all of them.
The artichoke is a great ally for people who suffer from the liver and gallbladder since it contains cynarin.
With the arrival of the cold the shelves of the markets begin to appear artichokes . Choose them with a fresh appearance, very tight leaves, closed at the tip and with the cut of the stem not very dark (which would be a sign that they already haveseveral days collected). In order for them to maintain all their properties, the ideal is to cook them the same day you buy them, or at most the next day. If they are placed in a closed plastic bag and left in the fridge, they will keep perfectlyat least one week. We recommend wearing gloves during the cleaning and preparation process to prevent your hands from turning black.
The artichoke is one of the most versatile delicacies in the kitchen, and we like them inall its variants. At first it may seem an uncomfortable and unpleasant vegetable because it requires some work in the kitchen but the result is worth it in taste and nutritional properties. Its delicate taste, between bitter and sweet, make it an ingrediente to create countless succulent dishes. Raw in salad, in the wok, simply cooked with aromatic herbs, roasted in the oven, in an omelette, stuffed ...
Take advantage of what it isseason and introduce them into your diet, because in addition to being tasty, they are one of the basic foods for our health.