April is the month for jokesters. But did you know it’s the month for delicious artichoke recipes, too? This budding thistle is at its season’s peak right now, so grab your taste buds and check out some fun and exciting reasons to enjoy artichokes this spring!
A Historic Plant
Many often wonder if an artichoke is a vegetable, a fruit, or something else. In fact, an artichoke is an immature thistle, also known as a prickly, flowering plant. Artichokes have been written about and eaten for thousands of years, dating back to as early as 371 B.C., when they were being grown in Italy and Sicily. Wealthy Romans used to enjoy this plant dipped in honey and vinegar. After the fall of Rome, the plant became scarce but reemerged during the Renaissance.
In 1806, artichokes were brought to the United States, where they were cultivated in Louisiana. Today, almost all artichokes in America are grown in California.
Mythology says the artichoke was once a beautiful girl who was seduced by Zeus and made into a goddess. After becoming homesick and returning to the mortal world to visit her family, Zeus scolded her for her “un-goddess-like” behavior and hurled her back to earth to live as this prickly plant forever.
Tasty and Versatile
Artichokes are not only scrumptious, they also provide important nutrients. A half cup serving of cooked artichoke hearts is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. They also contain fiber, which helps support a healthy digestive system. Overall, artichokes are a great addition to your diet and are pretty tasty to boot!
Artichokes were illegal in New York for one week in the 1920s due to a member of the mafia monopolizing the market and causing “artichoke wars”.
Now that you know a little more about artichokes, try your hand at whipping up some recipes featuring this delicious thistle. Our Aprons Recipes are a great place to start!
What is your favorite way to enjoy this delectable plant? Share your ideas in the comments.