What is the mystery of the plant? 43 interesting facts about artichoke: historical roots, amazing properties, cultivation, culinary uses, curious stories about art and mythology.
The artichoke is a perennial plant belonging to the Asteraceae family, which has found wide application in the world of culinary due to its rich taste and amazing properties. Unopened baskets of future flowers are used for food, and, despite the long history of their use by chefs from different countries, the artichoke still retains its aura of mystery. In addition, the plant is included in the composition of medicines and cosmetics. But even if you do not try to grow it and do not rush to culinary experiments, it is still extremely curious to know 43 interesting facts about the artichoke, after which you will look at it in a completely new way.
The history of the distribution of artichoke in the world
Although there are relatively few reviews about the artichoke in domestic cooking, this does not mean that it can be called something new for chefs. It's hard to believe, but this culture has been familiar to mankind for about 5000 years! The ancient Romans and Greeks wrote about it. And in those distant times, pickled artichokes were the lot of kings and the rich.
8 facts about how the plant spread around the world
- Historians say that the Mediterranean is the birthplace of the artichoke. It has also been grown since ancient times in the Canary Islands. But it has not taken root everywhere!
- It is the Romans who can be thanked for the fact that they have learned to store this strange product for future use. It is believed that in order to enjoy the outlandish inflorescences all year round, they began to harvest them, pickling them in honey, vinegar and caraway seeds.
- One of the first images of an artichoke is on the columns of the Karnak Temple in Egypt.
- The plant got from Spain to Central Europe thanks to the writer Clausius in 1564. He said then that the Spaniards eat artichoke seeds raw with meat.
- In 1600, with the light hand of the Spaniards, the cultivation of artichokes in America began.
- Peter I brought the seeds to Russia. They say that he did not want to sit down to eat if artichokes were not served at the table.
- Today it is hard to believe, but by the end of the 19th - beginning of the 20th century, such a plant could be seen in almost every noble garden in the middle lane and in the north of the Russian Empire.
- Nevertheless, artichokes are not favored everywhere. For example, in Australia and South America, they prefer to weed out the plant, calling it a malicious weed.
The amazing properties of artichoke
In ancient Greece and Rome, fresh and canned artichokes were held in high esteem not only for their taste. The fact is that they were credited with many healing qualities.
13 Fun Facts About Artichoke Health Benefits:
- The Romans ate artichoke to get rid of bad breath, and they also noticed that eating such a plant did not smell as harsh as it used to.
- In ancient times, an artichoke extract was used to lubricate the head with it. It was believed that in this way you can return a thick and beautiful hair.
- The Greeks and Romans also adored the artichoke because they considered it a powerful aphrodisiac. Moreover, representatives of the strong half of humanity were not ready to give up such a belief for many centuries. Until the 17th century, ladies were simply forbidden to eat such a priceless product. Like, why translate it, women do not need an aphrodisiac!
- Today, the plant is also treated with reverence. It is possible to make medicines from it. Medicines based on this natural gift are used in the treatment of jaundice, cholelithiasis, hepatitis, endarteritis, atherosclerosis, allergies, psoriasis, eczema, syphilis, azotemia.
- The benefits of artichoke for the liver and other internal organs are due to its rich composition. It contains almost no fat, but it is high in fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
- Artichoke extract is drunk not only for medicinal purposes - and for prevention. It strengthens the immune system, restores strength, prevents the development of pathologies and diseases of internal organs.
- It has already been proven that artichoke helps lower cholesterol, which is also used in medicine.
- Just one bud supplies 7 g of fiber to the body. This is 23-28% of the daily intake.
- With a high value, the plant is low-calorie: it contains only 60 kcal per 100 g.
- But there is relatively a lot of protein in culture - 4 g per 100 grams. For plant foods, this level is above average.
- Artichoke is a real storehouse of chlorogenic acid. It is an antioxidant that helps relieve inflammation, reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular pathologies.
- The plant contains vitamins such as A, E, B1, B2, B6, B9, C. They are also supplemented with minerals: fluorine, copper, zinc, iodine, iron. This complex explains the beneficial properties of the artichoke.
- Considering such a great value of the plant, it is not surprising that it began to be widely used in cosmetology. For example, masks with artichoke have become widespread, which help to preserve beauty and prolong youth, eliminating inflammation and puffiness.
Interesting facts about artichoke cultivation
Calling an artichoke "thistle", domestic amateur gardeners are often disappointed in it, because this representative of the flora is very whimsical. To be more precise, let us remind you that he comes from the Mediterranean. So warmth and sunshine are extremely important for him. Therefore, it can be difficult to grow a beautiful artichoke in the country when the summer is short and rainy. However, difficult does not mean impossible.
But at home, in the Mediterranean countries, they manage to harvest for 8 months. This is facilitated by the achievements of agriculture and new varieties. Therefore, before growing an artichoke, it is worth figuring out which species is suitable for local conditions.
9 useful facts from biology about how artichoke grows
- This plant is perennial. So, if you managed to get the first harvest, then it will be possible to repeat the success more than once.
- Although the crop is represented by numerous species, in fact, only two are grown. It is Spanish or cardon and real (sown prickly). The first is edible, while the second is used purely for decorative purposes.
- When growing an artichoke, it is important to keep in mind that this plant likes loamy and sandy loam soils.
- In order to harvest for several years, the plant is planted, leaving a lot of space between the bushes: they tend to grow strongly.
- It is important to exclude the slightest shading: the bush should be exposed to the sun's rays.
- The central buds ripen first, and the lateral ones catch up with them a little later: the harvest is harvested in the same sequence.
- Amazingly, one bush can provide delicious inflorescences for about 10 years annually.
- With proper care, the garden bed can yield 10 baskets per square meter.
- The buds can be cut when they are not yet open. But at the same time, it is important to wait for the leaves to become fleshy and juicy. In this case, we can say that the "vegetable" is ready for the table.
The use of artichoke in the world of culinary
It is not surprising that it was from the Mediterranean that artichoke recipes began to spread around the world. In countries with a fairly arid climate, every plant is appreciated, and once someone tasted a very amazing one, similar to weeds. By the way, in fact, the artichoke belongs to the Astrov family. So many people grow it precisely for the sake of beauty, and not for eating.
But in ancient Rome and Greece, as well as in Spain and Portugal a little later, the artichoke was used and used in food very willingly, and sometimes it is given more preference than the vegetables we are used to. In Russia, as well as in neighboring countries, the plant is treated with prejudice. There are lovers of buds, but still they are a wonder on the table. And it is completely in vain: the health benefits of artichoke are invaluable, which can be found out by getting to know its composition better.
8 interesting facts about artichoke in the world of culinary
- Real connoisseurs of the spicy aroma and expressive taste of the plant are the French, Italians, and Greeks. They eat the receptacle and the pulp of the leaves.
- The most valuable part is the receptacle. It is often served as a separate dish. In the Mediterranean, artichokes are stuffed with bread crumbs, herbs, tomatoes, chili peppers and olives.
- Leaves are eaten dipped in sauces. In this part of the plant, the taste is not as expressive as in the receptacle. Therefore, we can say that the sauce plays a key role. An artichoke is tasted with butter, just melted, while still hot. You can serve it with Bernet or Hollandaise sauce. Finally, the leaves are even dipped in mayonnaise.
- Tea made from the plant is highly prized in Vietnam. And literally everything is used - from buds to roots. This drink has a pronounced tonic effect. Interestingly, it tastes like coffee to many.
- It is almost impossible to imagine, but even desserts are made from artichokes. The buds are very unusual, accompanied by cinnamon and licorice. These additives eliminate the bitterness and accentuate the sweetness of the plant. You can also combine the product with chocolate.
- By the way, a strange plant can mislead even in the process of eating it! After all, there is a certain algorithm for serving and eating, which is better to get acquainted with before cooking an artichoke. Be sure to prepare a container with water and lemon for washing hands, a towel to wipe them dry. And also some kind of plate or tray - under the inedible parts of the plant.
- How is it eaten, artichoke? Only with your hands! If you just boil the buds along with the leaves, then they are torn off and dipped in the sauce. Then they move on to the most delicious - a fleshy receptacle. It can be removed from the hard rod with your fingers, but some craftsmen literally suck it out with their mouths. Then the leftovers are placed on a tray or plate for waste, and the hands are rinsed.
- Artichokes should not lie too long: if the leaves began to disperse, and their tips acquire a brown tint, the moment is missed. More precisely, you can still eat such a product, but it is not as tasty and healthy as the youngest, freshest and most tender.
To learn how to preserve artichoke, try it in pizza and other dishes, it is worth going to Italy in April. Here at this time there is a real holiday dedicated to a strange prolific plant. The collection of buds begins, which all the people rejoice. Vegetable growers display their crops in central squares. Moreover, they skillfully create masterpieces, adding bizarre gifts of nature into beautiful compositions. Here, chefs make salads with artichoke and other dishes. People are helping themselves, incendiary music sounds. Housewives are in a hurry to buy fresh goods. By the way, it does not lie for a long time: it must be eaten immediately or pickled, canned. However, in the form of blanks, the buds are no worse.
Artichoke in art and mythology
It is possible that the taste of artichoke is still a complete mystery for you. Do you know that such a plant is recognized as one of the most beautiful? Painters use it very willingly.
TOP 5 facts confirming that artichoke buds and leaves have a special charm:
- Since fresh artichoke is especially appreciated in Spain and Italy, it is there that you can find most of the art canvases with such a "character". One of the oldest masterpieces is a painting by the Spanish painter Felipe Ramirez. The work was created back in 1628, but it can still be seen in the Prado Museum in Madrid.
- In 1949, Marilyn Monroe was awarded the title, she became the "Queen of the Artichokes." The fact is that in one of the American towns this is the honorary name given to the first beauty. And it's not just that the title is associated with an artichoke: its unblown bud reminds many of the queen of flowers - a rose.
- In the city of Cerda, located in Italy, an extraordinary plant is revered to such an extent that they call it their symbol, and a monument has been erected in his honor.
- Greek mythology tells about the origin of the artichoke! According to legend, Zeus once fell in love with the beautiful Tsinara. She was a mere mortal, but God called her to him on Olympus. However, the girl soon missed her family and dared to visit them. Zeus got angry for this, threw it to the ground, and Tsinara turned into the very plant that we know under the name "artichoke".
- The special love of artists and other creative people for amazing buds is also explained by the fact that they look like the lips of a girl. Indeed, you can see the similarity, of course, with a rich imagination. In this regard, and even remembering the myth of Zeus and Cynar, it becomes obvious what the artichoke is considered a symbol of - earthly love.
Watch a video about the properties of an artichoke:
Fortunately, there is almost no harm from artichoke. But you should not eat it if the biliary tract is disrupted. Precautions are also needed for gallbladder inflammation. If you have kidney problems, it is best to consult your doctor so as not to harm. Since the product has a tendency to reduce blood pressure, caution is required in case of hypotension!