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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Climbing Michi's Ladder: Artichokes

By Denis Faye

Considering how ubiquitous and fun to eat artichokes are, the amount of people who've never tried them is surprising. There are several varieties, the most common being the globe artichoke. The round, prickly thing with the thick leaves that you peel off and eat is actually the bud of an artichoke flower. And in addition to being a great source of fiber and minerals, that process of peeling off the leaves one by one slows down eating. Not only does this make digestion easier, but it can create a feeling of satiety from what's actually very little food.

The (nutrition) facts
A medium-sized globe artichoke has about 60 calories, no fat, 13 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein. They're a good source of vitamin C with 25 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)*, vitamin K with 24 percent, folate with 22 percent, magnesium with 19 percent, iron with 9 percent, manganese with 16 percent, potassium with 14 percent, phosphorus with 14 percent, and copper with 15 percent. You also get a little thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, and zinc.

How do you eat this thing?
Although boiling is the typical way to eat an artichoke, you'll get a lot more flavor and a lot less sogginess if you steam it for about an hour. But before you do that, cut off the bottom right at the base. Some people also cut the top off each leaf, but you only need to do that if the tips are especially prickly.

Once it's cooked, eat the meat off the base of each leaf individually. Eventually, the leaves become wispy and inedible. At this point, cut off the remaining leaves and the fuzzy bit under them, revealing the heart. Some connoisseurs, including my 5-year-old, consider it to be the best part.

Artichokes themselves are nothing but healthy, but the sauces most people choose to dip them in? Not so much. Avoid butter sauces and mayonnaise. Instead, try vinaigrette with a few extra dollops of mustard, so it really sticks to the leaves. Hummus is another great option.

1 medium globe artichoke

Calories: 60
Protein: 4 g
Carbs: 13 g
Fiber: 6 g
Fat: none

Source: www.nutritiondata.com

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