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Fresh artichokes: The crowning touch is the tender heart
The artichoke is marveled at at the weekly market, but many don't dare to prepare the noble vegetables. But it's worth it, because the taste of the fresh flower heads can hardly be compared to inlaid hearts from the glass. The fine-tart artichoke is often served as an appetizer with a vinaigrette and baguette. It also tastes good in vegetable pans, on a tart and as a side dish with meat.
The artichoke also has a lot to offer from a nutritional point of view: in addition to plenty of fiber, it contains the carbohydrate inulin, which is particularly suitable for diabetics. Added to this are vitamin B1 and minerals such as iron, while the bitter substance cynarin promotes digestion and fat burning.
The thistle-like plant (Cynara scolymus) is native to the eastern Mediterranean. Like cauliflower and broccoli, it is part of the so-called inflorescence vegetable. This means that the flower base and the fleshy thickening of the bracts are eaten. Depending on the variety, the artichoke is colored green or purple.
The preparation takes some practice, but is not difficult. First you rinse the artichoke under running water. Then the stem is twisted out or broken off over a table edge so that the hard inedible fibers on the floor loosen. Then remove the outer, hard leaves and shorten the leaf tips. Rub lemon juice into all the interfaces quickly so that they do not change color. Now the artichoke is cooked in salt water with lemon juice. Caution: in aluminum pots it takes on a metallic taste and changes color. After 25 to 40 minutes, the noble vegetables are cooked. For consumption, the individual leaves are pulled out, the lower, fleshy end is dipped into a dip and pulled off with the teeth. The crowning glory is the "heart", which is cut up with a knife and fork. First of all, the inedible fibers, the "hay", have to be removed with a spoon.
Artichokes are available all year round, but taste best from June to November. Pay attention to quality when shopping. Fresh flower heads feel plump and firm and are heavy in the hand. If the outer leaves are discolored and dried, the goods are overlaid. The stem must not have dried out either. The vegetables, covered with foil or a cloth, keep in the fridge for one to two weeks. Heike Kreutz, respectively