- Purple Globe artichoke is a large and striking perennial vegetable with arching silvery-green deeply toothed leaves (prickly at the tooth-tips).
- It bears thistle-like flowers, 8-15cm across with numerous triangular scales and purple florets.
- Purple Globe Artichoke is hardier and best in cooler areas.
- It needs space in full sun and well-drained soil.
- The flower heads are boiled - to check if they are ready, push a knife through the heart, or try a basal leaf to check for tenderness.
- Eat hot by hand, with the leaves being pulled off one by one and dipped in a variety of sauces, mayonnaise, plain yoghurt or melted butter, before scraping off the fleshy leaf base between your teeth.
- Pull off the hairy central choke or remove it with a spoon and then eat the fleshy heart.
- It can also be eaten cold with vinaigrette or used in salads.
- The hearts can be marinated, baked, fried or they can be garnished for roasts, filled with vegetables or sauces.
Medicinal Uses. It is said that:
- Culinary: harvest buds when the scales are still tightly closed with 5-7.5cm of stem still intact.
- Can be stored for up to a week in a polythene bag in the fridge.
- Medicinal: the leaves and flowering buds are cut just before flowering.
- Globe Artichoke is an important medicinal herb - the total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables.
- Artichoke buds and leaves are rich in iodine, calcium, iron, protein and vitamins A, B1, and C.
- They also consist of 85% water.
- Half its carbohydrate content is indigestible inulin which turns to fructose in storage.
- Artichokes owe their delicate, tangy taste to the bitter substance "cynarin", a substance that has significant regenerating effects, as well as having diuretic properties.
- Globe Artichoke contains a wide number of other active constituents like dicaffeoylquinic acid, caffeoylquinic acids, flavonoids, scolymoside and bitters, amino acids, phosphorus, potassium, folic acid, niacin, thiamine, trace minerals and carotenoids.
- Acts as a liver tonic, brakes down fat, aids digestion, detoxificates, strengthens gall bladder function, improves bile flow and treats jaundice and hepatitis.
- It raises the HDL/LDL ratio and reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
- Contains bioactive agents that have an effect on beneficial gut bacteria - helpful for patients with functional dyspepsia, indigestion, nausea and flatulence.
- Kidney tonic – it is diuretic, promoting the flow of urine and appears to be effective in improving kidney function.
- Artichoke is frequently used to eliminate excess water weight and peripheral edema, a condition in which the peripheral body tissues contain an excessive amount of tissue fluid.
- Globe Artichoke has hypoglycemic activity that may assist in lowering blood glucose levels.
- It is a traditional remedy in the Americas and Spain for treating diabetes.