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What Is an Artichoke?

The artichoke, also known as a French or Globe artichoke to distinguish it from the fabulous but totally distinct root vegetable called Jerusalem artichoke, is a vegetable related to the daisy. It’s been the official vegetable of California since 2013 when it beat out avocados in a radio station listeners’ poll.

Originating from inedible thistles, the artichoke is the product of long and intensive cultivation that has created not just a tasty food, but an incredibly nutritious one as well.

Artichoke is a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region, where 90% of the world’s crop is produced (largely in Spain and Italy). In the US, 99.99% of the domestic crop grows in California. Most artichokes are green, but there are some purple varieties as well. You can also find baby artichokes that are smaller and more tender than their adult cousins.

The truly edible portion of the plant consists of the flesh of the green petals, the center of the stem, and the inner artichoke heart. Attempting to eat the thistly portion in the center of the vegetable can really put the “choke” in artichoke.

It’s one of the realities of our times that food companies aren’t interested in your health, and most doctors don’t know much about food. As if to prove the point, a Miami doctor succeeded in eating an entire artichoke at a restaurant — including the hard leaves. His subsequent pain led him to the hospital, where a laparoscopy discovered undigested leaves lodged in his bowels. In his lawsuit against the restaurant, the physician accused them of not training their wait staff to instruct patrons on the “proper method of consuming an artichoke.” Suggestion: Don’t go to that doctor for advice on how to eat fruits and vegetables.

(Excerpt taken from The Food Revolution Network)

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