Let’s talk about a healthy food that really doesn’t get the love it deserves: the artichoke. When was the last time you cracked into one of those spiny veggies? I bet it’s been a while.
And I agree, the artichoke can be labor intensive; it’s not exactly like grabbing a carrot. And though the leaves are fun to gnaw on, it is the heart of the artichoke that you’re really after, and with only one heart per ‘choke, the effort is debatable.
So you have basically three choices. 1. You can deprive yourself of the artichoke’s wholesome and velvety goodness. 2. You can purchase the canned or marinated variety and suffer through their rubbery texture. 3. Or you can mosey over to the other healthy aisle in the grocery store and buy ‘em frozen!
For around $3.50 you can get an eight-ounce box of frozen artichoke hearts that don’t contain a buttload of sodium and taste pretty dang close to the real deal. All you have to do is open the box, cook and enjoy — or plan ahead, defrost and add them to your favorite recipe. It’s that easy!
I like to use them in soups, casseroles and pasta and this Thanksgiving I wowed my guests with a leek and artichoke bread pudding.
Artichokes have a lot going for them. They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium; they contain more antioxidants than even cranberries, plus they contain a unique compound called cynarin that aids in fat digestion and helps detox the liver.
If you want to get the most out of your diet, do try and eat fresh, but don’t count out the frozen food aisle where you can find good nutrition and convenience in an easy-to-open box.
Did you know? The artichoke isn’t actually a vegetable; it is the immature flower bud of the thistle plant. —Karen