Food Historians believe that the Artichoke plant originates from the Meditteranean. Some say the Sciliy region while others believe Tunisia (Carthage). The plant comes from the flower family. Artichoke Hearts also grow wildly in Southern Europe. 80 percent of Artichokes grown in the US come from Castroville, California. Spanish Settlers cultivated Artichokes in California during the 1600’s. However Californian Artichokes did not gain popularity until the early 1900’s.
When purchasing Artichokes choose only those that are dark green with tight leaves – not leaves that appear to be opening. The Heart of the Artichoke is found once all the leaves are removed, at the base of the Artichoke. You can often find only the Artichoke Hearts available to purchase. The most popular option is canned Artichoke Hearts.
The antioxidants in Artichokes are very good for your liver and helps promote healthy skin. Artichokes are also high in fiber, calcium and protein while low in calories. They are fat free and cholesterol free, so truly a healthy food to celebrate!