Functional Foods at Farmers Markets - Week Nine





The Northern Illinois Farmers Market guide tells us it’s time for us to grab some of the splendid green prickly globes known as artichokes.

Many of us have never eaten or prepared one, so let’s take a look to learn what a wonderful functional food they really are.

As seen in the picture to the right, most of us are familiar with the globe artichoke variety. This is the variety usually referred to simply as "artichoke."

The globe artichoke is really an edible flower head from the bud of a perennial thistle.

The globe variety is a vegetable from the asteraceae family.

Other artichoke varieties differ to the globe artichoke because they are the edible tuberous roots of the plants instead of the flower. They are called the Jerusalem artichoke, which comes from the sunflower family, and the Chinese artichoke from the woundwort family.

For this blog, we’ll only be discussing the globe artichoke. 

cut artichokes-1246858_640.jpg

As seen in the picture above, once an artichoke has it's prickly tips trimmed off it can be consumed.  

The edible portion is used and found in many different forms.

You'll find artichokes braised, fried, steamed, boiled, broiled, canned, marinated, roasted, sautéed, grilled, stuffed, and used to make dips, tea and soups. 

Keep in mind that after removing the fuzzy top of the heart, artichoke hearts are incredibly tasty!

Fresh Artichoke Heart before being trimmed

Fresh Artichoke Heart before being trimmed

Marinated Artichoke Hearts

Marinated Artichoke Hearts






Nutrition_Facts_Label (8).jpg


Artichokes pack great fiber, potassium, vitamins A, K & C, magnesium, folate, manganese and much more!


With only 1 gram of sugar and 7 grams of fiber, look what else one serving of artichoke hearts provides!


A probiotic inulin makes up most of the fiber found in artichokes.



Artichokes are so high in antioxidants, via phytonutrients, that the USDA ranks them as the number one vegetable for antioxidant properties.

Liver health gets a boost from the phytonutrients silymarin and cynarin, found in artichokes.

Cynarin increases bile production in the liver.

Some of artichoke's phytonutrients, such as rutin, quercetin, and gallic acid, lower your risk of some cancers because they literally annhilate potential cancer cells.

question-2004314_640 .jpg


Artichokes provide a fair amount of vitamin K, which makes the brain happy by preventing brain neurons from being damaged and/or destroyed.



Don’t be intimidated!

The experts will show you how it's done!

Artichokes are the “official vegetable of Monterey, California” because almost all of the artichokes grown in the U.S. are grown within Monterey county. 

At this linkThe California Artichoke Advisory Board shows us how to prepare and cook artichokes along with many great resources:

Perhaps you'll visit some of the resources below


enjoy an artichoke today!


Bon Appétit – 24 Recipes for Artichokes, Both Fresh and Jarred:

California Artichoke Advisory Board – Recipes:

Food Network – Creamy Artichoke Soup:

Ocean Mist – How to choose, prepare, cook, and eat artichokes:

Ocean Mist – Recipes:  and The Best Artichoke Recipes of 2015

Simply Recipes – Grilled Artichokes:  Baked Stuffed Artichokes:

Vegetarian Times – Garlicky Leek and Artichoke Soup: