Things to Know About Artichokes and How to Choose and Store Them
There are two different types of artichoke, the globe and the Jerusalem, neither of which is in any way related to the other. The globe artichoke belongs to the thistle family and is common throughout the Mediterranean. It appears as different varieties, depending on the country, and ranges from tiny purple plants with tapered leaves, which are so tender that they can be eaten raw, to large bright or pale green globes, whose cooked leaves are pulled off one by one by the diner, who strips off the succulent flesh at the base with his or her teeth. The base is also edible. Baby varieties are completely edible and are sometimes eaten raw.
Globe artichokes were once thought to be aphrodisiacs, and women were forbidden to eat them.Scroll below to see the nutrients and artichokes in artichokes.
How to Choose Globe ArtichokesGlobe artichokes are at their best in summer. Whichever variety you are buying, look for tightly packed leaves, as open leaves indicate that they are too mature. Look, too, for a very fresh color. When an artichoke is old, the tips of the leaves will turn brown. If possible, buy artichokes that are still attached to their stems, as these will stay fresh for longer.
How to Store ArtichokesArtichokes will keep fresh for several days if you place the stalks in water. If they have no stalks, wrap them in clear film and keep in the vegetable drawer of the fridge for a day or two.
What is Jerusalem ArtichokeThe Jerusalem Artichoke is an entirely different vegetable. It is, in fact, a tuber, belonging to the sunflower family, and has nothing to do with Jerusalem. One explanation is that its name is a corruption of girasole, “sunflower”, because its yellow flower turns towards the sun. Jerusalem artichokes look rather like knobbly potatoes, and can be treated as such. They have a lovely distinctive flavor and are good in soups. They are also delicious baked, braised, sauteed or pureed.
They may not win any beauty contests, but Jerusalem artichokes taste delicious.