The May Vegetable of the Month is Artichoke!
Artichokes may feel a bit alien at first, but they can be fun and delicious! Not to mention, it’s one of the top vegetables containing the most antioxidants, keeping the whole family strong and healthy.
Artichoke is a Great Source of:
- Fiber—great for liver and digestive health
- Iron—improves muscle and brain function
- Antioxidants—for a boost to the immune system
- Vitamin A—for cell health
- Vitamin K—aiding bone and brain health
Did You Know?
- Artichokes are a staple health food within the Mediterranean diet.
- The artichoke plant can grow to be six feet in diameter and up to four feet tall!
- There are 140 different species of artichokes, but only 40 are grown commercially as food.
- The edible part of the artichoke is a flower bud before it begins to bloom!
How to Harvest and Store Artichoke
Ready-to-eat artichokes should be firm, compact, and heavy with an even, bright green color. You want to avoid black bruises or a purple tint. To safely store, cut off the bottom stem from the artichoke, sprinkle with water and place in an airtight bag for 5-7 days. Before cooking, cut off the thorny leaf tips with a kitchen scissors and remove any dry leaves completely.
How to Eat Artichoke
Remove the individual leaves and use your teeth to remove (and eat!) the softer flesh. Discard the leaves after you have removed the soft flesh.
Tips to Get Children to Eat Artichoke
- Under a guardian’s supervision, have your child help prepare the artichoke before cooking. They can help peel off dry leaves or even cut off the thorny leaf tips with safety scissors!
- Let them dip the artichoke in their favorite dips or condiments like butter, cheese, or ranch.
- Because you use your teeth to remove the soft flesh of the artichoke, they are generally more fun for kids to eat. Make it an adventure!
Ways to Eat Artichoke
Let’s Get Cooking
Spring Vegetable Soup
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups red cabbage, finely shredded
- 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- ½ cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
- 2.5 cups vegetable juice, low-sodium
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp dried basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté the cabbage, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and peas for 10 minutes.
- Add vegetable juice and water. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and add basil. Let simmer for 10 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
- Serve in individual serving bowls and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- 4 large artichokes
- 3 cups breadcrumbs
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup pecorino cheese, grated
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Cut 1” off the top of the artichoke with a serrated knife and snap off any dry or tough leaves. Use a kitchen scissors to trim off any thorny leaf tips. Remove the stems.
- Combine the breadcrumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, parmesan, pecorino, parsley and olive oil in a bowl.
- Separate the leaves on the artichoke to give them some breathing room. Stuff the crumb mixture between each leaf.
- Stand upright in a steamer basket over simmering water. Cover and steam over medium-low heat until tender (add more water if needed), about 1 hour 20 minutes.
- Remove from basket and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
- Serve while warm.
For more creative artichoke-based recipes and information visit this Pick it! Try it! article from South Dakota State University Extension.
Can’t get enough fruits and veggies? Be sure to check out Harvest of the Month, a downloadable educational program designed to make learning about fruits and veggies easy, tasty, and fun!