Artichoke is a perennial plant, which grows in the Mediterranean (here grow about 10 varieties of artichoke) and on Canary Islands.
Two principal edible varieties of artichokes are called Cardon, or the Spanish artichoke, and sowing, or the thorny artichoke.
This plant blooms in summer and looks similar to thistle, it grows up to 0,5 to 1,5 m tall and refers to Compositae. It has large basic leaves with simple lobes. The envelope leaves of the flower head and the fleshy receptacle are considered to be a little bitter. The leaves themselves are separated a lot and look like a rounded rosette.
Thorny artichoke is also called “the French artichoke” and “the green artichoke”. The name of this plant is supposed to come from the Ligurian “Cocali”, which word for word means “pinecone”.
The Italians consider “Mammola” the best kind of artichoke, because it has no thorns, is juicy and large. I can be baked, stuffed or just eaten with some salt.
Artichokes have been already known for 5 thousand years and were widely cultivated in Rome, Egypt, Ancient Greece. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered artichoke as a delicacy and a strong aphrodisiac.
It was forbidden for French women to eat artichoke because of its “erotic” reputation, as artichokes were believed to warm the genitals. Maybe this is the reason, why artichokes are widely used in erotic cuisine.
The ancient Greeks even believed the artichoke to contribute to the birth of boys. And the rich Romans tried to store up the artichokes using vinegar, honey and caraway to be able to enjoy these vegetables also in winter.
The edible “vegetable” is in fact an unexpanded head of the future flower, which is beautifully violet or dark blue, when blossoming. Outwardly an artichoke is an unexpanded bud consisting of large fleshy scales. Artichoke has just a fantastic taste, which can’t be compared to anything.
Useful Properties of Artichoke
There are about 40 varieties of edible artichokes. This is a quite tasty product, in addition, it is healthy.
- Artichoke contains a large amount of potassium and sodium salts, which is healthy for the cardiovascular system.
- Moreover, as these salts possess a strong alkalinity, they are good for people with hyperacidity.
- Artichoke is also good for hypertensive patients. But don’t eat it a lot, if you suffer from gastritis with hypoacidity and low blood pressure.
- Artichoke is also used as a remedy for the atherosclerosis prevention.
- Artichoke decoction and juice are used as remedies for liver and biliary diseases.