Artichoke, cynaria scolymus, belongs to Asteraceae family. It has been named after Arabic “al-kharshûf”, referring to the root of the vegetable.
It can grow up to 1.4–2 m (4.6–6.6 ft) tall, and has arching, lobed, silvery-green leaves .
To buy the perfect Artichoke: leaves should cling together tightly, stem at the point of the cut shouldn’t be dark brown nor black, and the artichoke itself should be heavy and firm.
There are records of its use as a food among the ancient Greeks and Romans. It has also inspired some paintings, for example it has been painted by Arcimboldo.
In cooking, you can use them with pasta or as a side dish. It is great also raw, or boiled and dip in a sauce made with oil, salt and lemon. You can also use it to make soups, pies, or Italian recipe “carciofi alla giudia”.
Fun fact: Artichoke is rich in iron and fiber, essential for our bodies. It also has a high content of minerals, like calcium and magnesium, and vitamin b9.