Exploring the Globe Artichoke: A Culinary Gem with Impressive Health Benefits

By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach

When it comes to vegetables, some have earned superstar status, while others quietly await their moment in the spotlight. Globe artichokes fall into the latter category, often overlooked in favour of more popular veggies like broccoli, spinach, or cauliflower. However, this unique vegetable boasts a rich history, exceptional health benefits, and a delicious flavour that's worth discovering.

A Brief History of Globe Artichokes:
The globe artichoke, scientifically known as Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus, has been cultivated for thousands of years. Its origins can be traced back to the Mediterranean region, with records of its consumption dating as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. The Greeks and Romans prized artichokes for both their culinary and medicinal properties.

During the Middle Ages, globe artichokes spread across Europe, and they became a favorite in France, where they earned the nickname "legume de roi" or "vegetable of kings." In the 19th century, Italian immigrants brought them to the United States, where they eventually gained popularity in California.

Health Benefits Compared to Other Vegetables?:
Globe artichokes may not be as widely hailed as broccoli or kale, but they offer a unique set of health benefits that make them a valuable addition to your diet.

  • Rich in Fibre: Globe artichokes are a fibre powerhouse, with one medium-sized artichoke providing around 7 grams of dietary fibre. This aids in digestion, helps control blood sugar levels, and supports a healthy heart.

  • Antioxidant Powerhouse: These green globes are loaded with antioxidants, including vitamin C and phytonutrients like quercetin and rutin. Antioxidants combat free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

  • Liver Health: Artichokes contain compounds like cynarin and silymarin that promote liver health by aiding in detoxification and supporting liver function.

  • Low in Calories: For those watching their calorie intake, artichokes are a great choice. A medium artichoke contains just about 60 calories.

  • Digestive Aid: Artichokes have been used historically to alleviate digestive issues like indigestion and bloating. Their natural bitterness can stimulate bile production, aiding in fat digestion.

    How to Prepare Globe Artichokes:
    Now that you're convinced of their health benefits, let's explore how to prepare and enjoy globe artichokes.


    Globe artichokes
    Lemon slices
    Olive oil
    Salt and pepper


    Start by trimming the top 2 - 3 centimeters of the artichoke, removing any tough outer leaves, and cutting off the stem close to the base.

    Rub the cut surfaces with a lemon slice to prevent browning.

    Steam the artichokes until the leaves pull off easily, typically for about 25-45 minutes, depending on their size. To check for doneness, insert a knife into the base; it should go in easily.

    While the artichokes are steaming, prepare a dipping sauce by mixing olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

    Once cooked, let the artichokes cool slightly, and serve them with the dipping sauce. To eat, pull off the leaves one by one and scrape the tender portion at the base with your teeth. The heart is the prized center, which can be cut into and enjoyed once all the leaves are gone.

    Globe artichokes may not be the most popular vegetable on the block, but their history, exceptional health benefits, and unique flavor make them worthy of a place in your diet. So, the next time you're looking to try something new, don't forget to give the globe artichoke a chance to shine on your plate.


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