Monday, May 25, 2015

Artichokes, how to clean and trim them!!

The Artichoke a.k.a Akinara in Greek 


Mediterranean


The yesteryears of the blazing sun in my granddmothers vegetable filled gardens, in Mathraki, such bittersweet memories. I have to admit I learned quite a bit during my early childhood years there. I've mentioned this island quite a few times before but I  guess it's never enough for me. It's a little jewel in the Ionian Islands and within this jewel we find little treasures, one such treasure is the artichoke.
I was introduced to this snack by my grandmother, god rest her soul.

It seems like it was yesterday as I walked in the artichoke field, looking for a ripe artichoke, cutting it off and walking to a smaller garden where we had a well. I couldn't wait to get there, to drop the pail in the well, bring fresh cold water up, dip the aritchoke in, allow it to be submerged for 10 minutes Then I would take it out and slowly trimming the leaves one by one and eating them. So crispy with the water dripping from the leaves and unto my chin. A snack filled nutrients and plenty of vitamins.

The artichoke originated in the Mediterranean and it has has many beneficial factors which explains why my grandmother lived to be 92 years oldd. All she ate was homegrown organic vegetables and of course organic live stock.

The artichoke a.k.a  Ankinanara in Greek, a vegetable very well known to ancient Greeks and Romans for its medicinal propereties and it belongs to the thistle family. Let me explain to you its great qualities: It's  filled with antioxidants and many researchers believe  it contributes to cancer prevention and leukemia. Artichokes assist in bile boost production and in return, this helps to get rid of toxins and helps in the food digestion.

Artichokes contain Cynarin, which not only allows us to better digest our food but also sponge up vitamins from the food we eat.

Now, something you didn't know, I didn't either but my grandmother did. Most people like to eat the heart of the artichoke. Guess what, all the vitamins and nutrients are located in the leaves, stem and root. The extract from the leaves is used to to reduce cholesterol levels. They have been many clinical studies that have proven that the leaves have strong anti- ageing  and various disease fighting properties.

Furthermore, the artichoke is loaded with minerals like potassium, iron, copper,calcium phosphorus and manganese. They are low in fat and calories and an excellent source for folic acid.

Clinical experiments have presented that artichokes when eaten have proven to treat chronic digestive problems such as irritable stomach, flatulenece, irritable bowel and nervous gastropathy.

                                      Read on to see how to clean and trim an artichoke properly.

                                                                 First, cut off the stem.
                                                       

Then, trim the leaves one by one, going around in circle. You can do this by hand or with a knife, if I'm  in a rush I use the knife but if I'm not, I eat the leaves as I go around the artichoke. :) 
The white part is eaten from the artichoke leaves. It's crunchy and tasty. 



When you come to this part, cut it at the lower bottom.


And then split it half, you will see a fuzz, scrape this with a knife.



Once you scarpe everything , it should look like in the picture below.


TIP: Once they been completely cleaned, rub with a lemon so it doesn't lose its color and either refreigerate it for later use or cook it immediately. If using immediately have a bowl with cold water and feshly squeezed lemon juice drop them in until you are ready to cook them. 

                                                       






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