For my 100th recipe post I would like to share with you a simple pickled Artichoke recipe. If you have never eaten or cooked this vegetable do not be alarmed by it’s exotic appearance. It can be prepared in a number of different ways, on this occasion I will simply pickle and preserve them. Artichokes were enjoyed by the ancient Romans, Greeks and throughout the Mediterranean as well as the Arab cultures and North African. They have a dramatic flower like appearance however, prepared in traditional Italian marinated style they evoke magnificent flavours and textures. A friend was kind enough to share with me a large number of Artichokes from her sister’s garden. How could I refuse fresh Artichokes lovingly grown in a home garden! I hope that you enjoy this simple healthy recipe using this magnificent fresh vegetable which contains the highest level of antioxidants for vegetables.
8-10 Artichokes (trimmed, washed, outer leaves removed)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups water
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons of pickling spice
8 juniper berries
1 clove crushed garlic
1 heaped tablespoon chopped parsley
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Makes: 3 x 300 gram jars (approximately)
Wash, remove the outer leaves, cut the stems (keeping a 2 inch piece closest to the choke) and trim 1 inch off the top of the Artichoke. Peel the stem using a potato peeler to reveal the flesh which should be tender. If you find that the stem is tough and woody discard and do not use it. Cut the hearts in half as well as the stems.
Place olive oil, water, vinegar, pickling spice, juniper berries, pepper and salt in a pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the hearts as well as the stems, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 to 30 minutes.
Spoon the cooked Artichoke hearts and stems into hot sterilised jars, top up with the cooking liquid to the top of the jar, seal immediately. Place the sealed jars in a pot of water. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Use jars that are the same size and ensure that the water covers the jar 3/4 of the way. Use tongs to remove the jars and allow to cool before storing in a cool, dark place.
Label and date the jars when cooled.
To serve, place the marinated Artichokes in a bowl, add crushed garlic, chopped parsley, salt, pepper and a little extra olive oil. Mix well and serve.
Lemon juice will stop the Artichoke from going brown once it has been cut and trimmed.
Ensure that you remove the choke from the centre of the heart, especially if the leaves are starting to separate. This is a good indication that the (choke) flower is forming in the centre. The Artichokes that were given to me were of varying sizes. The smaller ones I used for pickling and the larger ones I filled and baked in the oven. When buying Artichokes from a fruit/vegetable supplier, choose the ones where the leaves are all tight and closed.
The stems are edible and very tasty providing that they are young and not too woody.
Artichokes are highly nutritious and are very good for the liver, aiding detoxification as well as regeneration. They reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels, stimulating the gall bladder and helping the metabolism of fat. Healthy, nutritious, delicious and visually amazing vegetable.