It’s hard to believe, but the first description of the artichoke was made back in 371 BC. Associated with this vegetable is one of the most ancient Aegean legends, telling about the love of Zeus for a mortal girl. Ostensibly, the impudent and beautiful Kinara liked this mythical character with lightning so much that he took her to his Olympus. But the homesickness overcame the feeling of love – the girl disobeyed Zeus and went down to visit her mother. In response, an angry Zeus dropped Kinara from Olympus and turned it into an artichoke, the useful properties of which were appreciated by both healers and chefs. Myths and myths of this – these ancient Greek stories do not explain, what is so good artichoke. But we will do it …
What is it?
An artichoke is a plant that is a close relative of garden asters and thorny thistles. In appearance, it resembles a green rounded cone, the size of which ranges from a small walnut to a large orange. In nature, there are ten types of plants, but only two are eaten – a sowing artichoke and a cardon.
Disputes over the homeland of this vegetable are not one year. Sicily, Egypt, Rome or Greece? Which of these countries belongs to this proud title is not known for certain. But the artichoke came to Europe because of Catherine de Medici, who brought it from Italy in the 16th century.
Today, this vegetable is growing everywhere, with the exception of Antarctica. Of course, in many countries it is treated as a bored weed, but there are those in which the artichoke has become a favorite garden plant – these are Greece, the USA, France, Italy and Spain.
Now you know what an artichoke is – not a woman, compressed to the size of a small nut, as claimed by ancient Greek mythology. It’s time to understand why he is so loved and appreciated.
Composition and calorie
Fresh artichokes are a real fount of vital substances. They contain:
- Macronutrients – potassium, phosphorus and calcium, as well as sodium and magnesium;
- Trace elements – selenium, manganese, copper, zinc and iron;
- Vitamins – E, P, A, C, and more vitamins, included in group B;
- Inulin – about its useful properties, you can read our other article;
- Organic acids – quinic, glyceric, caffeic, glycolic and chlorogenic;
- Some fat;
- Vegetable proteins;
As for the calorie content, this relative of garden asters is the best find for those who are on a diet. 50 kcal per 100 grams of the product is quite a bit, those who like to lose weight will confirm.
Health and beauty benefits
Pliny the Elder, a famous healer, spoke about the healing possibilities of artichokes. In the Middle Ages, this plant was used as a choleretic, diuretic and antirheumatic agent. Later they were treated with jaundice, edema, gout, scurvy, and poor appetite.
Studies conducted today have not only confirmed the unique healing capabilities of artichokes, but also revealed their other properties.
So, to the record of this vegetable include:
- Cleansing the kidneys and liver, stimulating their work;
- Removal from the intestines of toxins, slags, hepatotoxic substances, heavy metals and alkaloids;
- Improving digestion, lack of a sense of heaviness after carbohydrate and fatty foods;
- Reducing the amount of cholesterol in the blood;
- Treatment of many serious diseases – hepatitis, allergic reaction, atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, inflammation of the gallbladder, obesity, intoxication and some types of psoriasis;
- Reducing blood sugar and increasing the level of "good" bacteria in the intestine due to inulin;
- Improving cerebral circulation is the merit of cyanarine.
Naturally, all these internal changes have a very good effect on the appearance of hair, nails and skin.
Medicine and Artichoke
Both in traditional and traditional medicine, extracts, decoctions and infusions of this vegetable are used. Instructions for use of the plant looks like this:
Recipe number 1. Decoction to improve the work of the central nervous system and reduce cholesterol and uric acid
Fill the artichoke leaves and stalk (2 tbsp. L.) Only with boiling water (1 liter). Let the mixture brew a little and take twice a day – 400 grams in the morning and 400 grams in the evening.
Recipe number 2. To enhance libido and sexual power
Pass the plant through a meat grinder, filter the resulting juice and drink it twice a day at 50 grams.
The same recipe is useful for dropsy, urination problems and alkaloid poisoning. And artichoke juice eliminates the smell of sweat with excessive perspiration and helps stop baldness. In the latter case, it is rubbed into bald spots.
Recipe number 3. For thrush, stomatitis, stickings and cracks in the mouth
Know about these troubles firsthand? Rinse your mouth regularly (up to five times a day) with a mixture of honey and artichoke juice.
Recipe number 4. Tea against inflammation of the digestive tract
Do you want to stop the inflammatory process that develops on the mucous membrane of the intestine and stomach? Add a quarter spoonful of ground artichoke to regular tea. With this drink you can cure gastritis with high acidity.
Recipe number 5. For constipation
Boil the artichoke baskets in a liter of clear water (10 minutes is enough). Mix the broth with raw yolk and take three times a day.
Recipe number 6. For eczema, urticaria and psoriasis
Plant leaves pour a liter of water, boil for a quarter of an hour, filter and cool. In the resulting liquid, moisten a clean cloth and apply it on the affected skin as a compress.
Remember, the instruction on the use of artichoke for medicinal purposes requires the mandatory consultation of your doctor. Do not self-medicate, it is not always safe!
Artichoke is a gourmet delicacy. Cooks appreciate it for its delicate taste and versatility, because the plant can be eaten at any stage of maturation. Young inflorescences – fresh, medium – canned and pickled, completely ripe – boiled and stewed. Even the lower parts of the plant are used, they are stuffed with vegetables and meat. But the open inflorescences do not need to eat – they have a bad taste.
Many housewives are interested in how to cook this plant. It is added to various salads, used as a side dish for meat and fish, put in pies, risotto, desserts, pasta, bread, pizza and sauces. The nutty taste of artichokes will turn even an ordinary omelette into a savory dish.
- Pepper and salt to taste;
- Artichokes – 2 pieces;
- Butter – 2 tbsp. l .;
- Garlic – 2 cloves.
- Clean the artichokes from hard leaves.
- Cut the butter into thin pieces, place it between the artichoke petals.
- There, add chopped garlic.
- Cook steamed vegetables for about 20 minutes.
- Serve warm (with sweet-sour or balsamic sauce).
Cooking in the microwave
- Lemon juice – half a glass;
- Rosemary – 1 bunch;
- Artichokes – 4 pieces .;
- Thyme – 1 bunch;
- Olive oil – 4 tablespoons;
- Salt – to taste.
- Wash the artichokes and clean them of unwanted leaves.
- Cut each fruit in half, season with lemon juice, salt and sprinkle with chopped herbs.
- Put the artichokes in a special dish and cook in the microwave for about ten minutes at a power of 700 W.
- Water – 1 liter;
- Sugar – 100 grams;
- Artichokes – 10 pieces;
- Olive oil – 1 liter;
- Vinegar –