New studies show artichokes contain a large amount of antioxidants, in the form of phytonutrients and in a study done by the United States Department of Agriculture, artichokes rank as the number one vegetable in ant-oxidant count. Among the most powerful phytonutrients are Cynarin and Silymarin, which have strong positive effects on the liver¹.
One hundred percent of Americas commercial Artichoke crop is produced right here in Northern California, in specific, the Monterey coast and centered around Castroville. Californias annual artichoke crop brings in about seventy five million dollars annually. There are basically two products that are sold as artichoke hearts. A few are actual hearts, that is, mature artichokes with all the leaves trimmed off. The majority of what are marketed as artichoke hearts are not the heart at all but small immature artichokes, often the secondary harvest from older plants. Most of the artichoke hearts, available are processed and sold in cans or jars. Some are in a marinade or vinaigrette and some are processed in water only².
Try adding the ones in vinaigrette to salads for an added punch. Use them on an antipasto tray along with a selection of olives, roasted red peppers, marinated mushrooms, quartered hard boiled eggs, crudités, cherry tomatoes and perhaps some salami and cheese. Try using them on the top of small cocktail size open face sandwiches and on bruschetta or crustine. Use them to make mini cocktail kebobs of an artichoke heart, an olive, and a marinated mushroom².