In some countries, a plant such as an artichoke is very popular among the population. Its benefits and harms have been known since ancient times. This herbaceous plant belongs to the Asteraceae, as it has large edible inflorescences. In fact, this product looks like a huge open bud. The artichoke gained particular fame in the United States, where it was once brought by immigrants from Europe.
The Importance of Artichoke Inflorescences in Cooking
It was in this country that the plant found its deserved destination. Many recipes of national cuisine use not only young fruits, but also mature late kidneys, more reminiscent of old bumps. The first, as a rule, are required for the preparation of appetizers, salads. As for the larger kidneys, they are sent to hot dishes. Cooking options for this plant can not be counted. Indeed, in addition to the indicated methods, the artichoke, the health benefits and harms of which should be familiar to everyone, can be preserved, boiled, and eaten raw. Since only the crushed core of this plant, somewhat reminiscent of a walnut, is suitable for food, wonderful sauces, pastas and mashed potatoes are prepared from it.
The most important thing is to choose the right fruits. On high-quality artichokes there will never be specks, darkening. Healthy kidneys have a smooth green color, fairly elastic and not too dry. Moreover, the size of such a delicacy absolutely does not matter.
However, the blue flowers of the artichoke, which have blossomed to the end, are not consumed, but they find themselves in the culinary decor.
Calorie content of the product and its beneficial substances
An artichoke, the benefits and harms, the calorie content and other qualities of which need more detailed consideration, is not in vain so highly appreciated by the cooks. In addition to taste benefits, this plant can safely boast of a rich composition of nutrients necessary for the body. Among the essential elements important for daily food intake, inflorescences contain about 3% protein, they have very little vegetable fat and no more than 15% carbohydrates. Numerous useful substances, including iron, calcium phosphate, B, C, P vitamins, carotene and much more. It is impossible not to mention the presence of vital organic acids in the composition of plant inflorescences.
When compiling a diet for weight loss, an artichoke will be a wonderful find. Calorie content and properties (the benefits and harms of eating this plant still do not find an unambiguous approach by nutritionists), it is said that it is better not to find a vegetable suitable for this purpose. It perfectly combines a small amount of calories (only 47 per 100 g of product) and valuable nutritional qualities.
Beneficial effects on the body
This dietary product can rightfully replace starch, therefore, its use is often recommended for patients with diabetes mellitus. Back in the 18th century, healers advised the artichoke to suffer from gout, liver diseases. To date, doctors do not deny its easy digestibility by the body, diuretic and choleretic effects. Often, for the preparation of medicinal tinctures and potions, not only inflorescences are used, but also leaves, the root part. An artichoke, the benefits and harms of which deserve special attention, reduces blood cholesterol and acts as a prophylactic against atherosclerosis.
An interesting fact is that even in ancient times, the Greeks considered artichoke juice a panacea to help cope with baldness. It was enough to rub the fluid into the head at least several times a month.
In modern alternative medicine, it is recommended to take freshly squeezed vegetable juice to men as a stimulant of sexual desire. For people with problematic perspiration, an artichoke is also the best solution.
It is also worth noting that the artichoke also found its use in dentistry . Useful properties (the benefits and harms of the plant are in an unequal ratio) help to improve the condition of the oral cavity, cope with such troubles as stomatitis, cracks in the tongue, thrush.
At the moment, the branch of pharmacology often resorts to the use of artichoke-based medicines in the production. First of all, we are talking about drugs that are prescribed by specialists for the treatment of hepatitis, cholelithiasis, atherosclerosis, and allergies. In addition, it is included in the composition of ointments, creams, necessary for the treatment of psoriasis and eczema.
Contraindications to the use of artichoke
Meanwhile, despite a wide range of advantages, the artichoke, the benefits and harms of which should be reasonably balanced before use, has an extremely negative effect on the gastrointestinal tract of people suffering from gastritis, low acidity, and low blood pressure. It is known that the composition of the plant includes the substance polyphenol, which increases the formation and excretion of bile. Therefore, people with cholecystitis, it is better to completely exclude the use of this product from their diet.
The size of the vegetable and the rules for its storage determine the necessary method of preparation. For example, a young bud of inflorescence tastes good even without heat treatment, while a large ripe fruit cannot be eaten raw, since the fibers of such a plant are stiff and tasteless. An artichoke with open brown leaves is generally not suitable for consumption.
How to store the fruits?
Terms and conditions of storage of fruits also affect their quality. Artichoke can cause harm to the body, which, due to prolonged storage, has absorbed ambient moisture and odors. An ideal period for preserving the useful properties of most vegetables is a week, the artichoke does not spoil as much. The benefits and harms (how to cook an artichoke, preserving the maximum number of valuable properties, there are many tips), to some extent, are determined by the storage time. Therefore, often after the purchase, many immediately start pickling and preserving the product.
Considering that the artichoke belongs to the vegetable class of plants, the seedling method is excellent for its breeding and cultivation.
The first step in growing is seed preparation. It is advisable to carry out this procedure in early March. To do this, you need a container of water. Seeds should be laid out in water and expect subsequent swelling and germination.
It is important to maintain the required temperature to achieve the desired results. At home, batteries are a constant source of heat at this time of year. However, after the appearance of tiny roots, it is advisable to accustom the seeds to hardening. This can be done by setting the container with sprouts in the cold for 10-14 days.
Then, seasoned future artichokes (the benefits and harms of growing and preparing a plant - all this information is known to many lovers of this product) are sown in a prepared pot or large box. Before the first transplant from the total capacity to a separate dish, about a month should pass. By the end of spring, ready-made seedlings can be planted in open soil. It is at this point that the likelihood of frost, which can have a detrimental effect on the state of seedlings, is minimal. In the process of planting young plants, it should be remembered that the adult artichoke is large, so it is best to distribute young seedlings at a distance of 60-70 cm from each other at a depth of 20-25 cm.
How to care for artichoke?
Caring for this plant, as well as for many other vegetable crops, does not require a special approach. He also needs loose soil, the absence of nearby weeds, and the implementation of preventive measures aimed at preventing diseases and parasites. An artichoke, the benefits and harms of which will not leave anyone indifferent, does not need frequent heavy watering. Of course, in case of drought, it is desirable to provide the plant with sufficient moisture.
You can get rid of slugs and black rot by spraying with special solutions. Basically resort to the use of infusions of volatile. Useful insects (bees, wasps, etc.) will warn the artichoke against aphids, therefore, nectar-bearing crops or flowers are often planted next to this vegetable.