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Artichoke, Cynara scolymus / Compositae (Asteraceae)
Note: Composition for 100 g. of fresh product
Values in ( min. - max. ) format.
Energy: 22.01-53.00 kcal
Fats: 0.12-0.20 g
Fibres: 10.79-10.79 g

Minerals

Calcium: 40.00-53.00 mg
Chlorine: 40.00-40.00 mg
Phosporus: 90.00-130.00 mg
Iron: 1.00-1.50 mg
Magnesium: 26.00-26.00 mg
Manganese: 0.380-0.380 mg
Potasium: 353.00-353.00 mg
Selenium: 0.700-0.700 µg
Sodium: 47.00-47.00 mg
Proteins: 2.40-3.00 kcal
Carbohidrates: 2.63-9.90 g

Liposoluble Vitamins

A Retinol: 16.67-16.67 µg
A Carotenoids: 100.00-120.00 µg
E or Tocoferol: 0.190-0190 mg

Liposoluble Vitamins

B1 or Thiamine: 0.080-0.140 mg
B2 or Riboflavine: 0.012-0.030 mg
B3 or Niacine: 0.80-0.80 mg
Artichoke
The artichoke is an immature inflorescence of green or purple colour. It is consumed in many different ways and its taste is highly appreciated. It is mainly cultivated in the Mediterranean basin and in some areas of the United States. It stands out for its content in cynarin, a substance that protects the liver. Furthermore, it reduces the level of cholesterol and it is diuretic.
Nutrition and eating
The artichoke is rich in fiber and low in calories. It supplies calcium and phosphorus, along with vitamins B1, C, B3, B5 and B6. It contains insulin, that produces fructose in the organism, that is assimilated by diabetics. It is also rich in cynarin, a compound that protects the liver and stimulates bile secretion.
The fruit
The artichoke is an immature inflorescence of green or purple colour. It is consumed in many different ways and its taste is highly appreciated. It is mainly cultivated in the Mediterranean basin and in some areas of the United States. It stands out for its content in cynarin, a substance that protects the liver. Furthermore, it reduces the level of cholesterol and it is diuretic.

The artichoke is a bulbous or long inflorescence of 12cm of diameter that is born in the plant of the same name. It is composed of a green or purple base; the flower heads are surrounded by protective leaves that are grouped around them. The colour ranges from green to purple; this characteristic leads to the distinction of the varieties. It has a sharp and somewhat bitter taste. It is consumed unripe, because when it blossoms there appears a purple down that makes it inedible.

The artichoke comes from a species of thistle that the Greeks and the Romans cultivated in the Mediterranean area. The breeding that was carried out during the Middle Ages brought about the artichoke that we know nowadays.

It is consumed cooked, roasted, fried or even raw, in vegetable stew or sautéed with peas and ham, etc. They are also preserved, natural, in oil or vinegar. They are also suitable to be frozen, keeping their organoleptic properties. They are frozen in many ways: artichoke bases, laminae, in chunks, hearts in halves or whole.

The artichoke is chiefly cultivated in the countries of the Mediterranean basin and scarcely in some areas of the United States, like California.

Its nutritious importance relies mainly on the cynarin, a compound that is found in a significant quantity in artichokes; it has beneficial properties for the liver, kidneys and the gall bladder.
The plant
The artichoke is a plant that lives for several years thanks to its root system, that accumulates reserves so as to blossom every season. It is composed of several stems that bear the artichokes, that are the immature inflorescences before they open. In warm climate countries, during the summer, the aerial part of the plant dries and sprouts again thanks to the rhizome reserves.

The artichoke belongs to the family of the composites and its scientific name is Cynara scolymus. It is a perennial plant. The roots reach up to 40-45cm of depth.

On the surface of the rhizome there appear a series of buds, that sprout and give birth to some erect, heavy stems that are channelled longitudinally and branched; they may reach in some cases 1,5m of height. On these stems that are born from the rhizome there grow the inflorescences or capitulum. They are formed by a series of protective bracts with a fleshy base that include a high number of purple or bluish unripe flower heads.

The leaves are long, showing some hairs, with a white reverse and a pale green-coloured upper side. They are divided in lateral lobes, and some show thorns in the apex.

The artichoke is usually reproduced from pieces of rhizome that are separated from the mother plant and planted, although lately some varieties have been obtained from seed reproduction. These varieties usually bear plants that are greater and thornier than the traditional ones. During the summer and in temperate climates the aerial part dries, but the rhizome is in dormancy in the ground, until the end of the season; then it sprouts thanks to the rhizome reserves accumulated. In countries like Spain, the plant produces artichokes towards November. During the winter, the production decreases, and in colder areas such as the north of France it stops completely, starting again in spring.
Tricks and tips

Artichoke tea

Cut the artichoke into pieces and leave to dry. The upper part of the leaves are too hard, so they can be rejected. You may boil two tablespoons per litre of water. A cup of this tea should be taken before every meal. It is an excellent remedy for the control of hepatic system

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