Did you know that artichokes are not vegetables, but instead a type of thistle? This beautiful plant packs a healthy punch with numerous benefits that include boosting the immune system, improve digestion and even protect against several types of cancers.
From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, artichokes help clear excess heat in the liver, harmonize the liver qi which translates to less irritability, soothing stress, and supports digestion. Its power to reduce irritability extends to both physical and mental. On the physical side, artichokes have been found to calm Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), diarrhea and constipation. Fresh artichokes are a good source of folate, which is necessary for emotional health as well as preserving memory.
Its preparation is also versatile. You can boil it, steam it, marinate it and even grill it. I prefer to simply steam an artichoke and dip it in home-made Caesar dressing, as described below.
- Fill steamer with water just below the steamer basket, set the artichoke upside down inside the basket (stem end up), cover, bring water to a boil then cook until done…approximately 40 minutes (small) to 60 minutes (large).
- If you don’t have a steamer, bring about two inches of salted water to a boil with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Position in the boiling water (stem side down), reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until done (about 30 minutes).
- Watch water levels and add more if needed.
- Drain off any excess moisture by setting them upside down for a few minutes before serving.