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Artichoke Dip

 

 

Tasty dip can be served with crackers, bread or vegetables.

INGREDIENTS:

1 14 oz can artichoke hearts drained
cup mayonnaise
cup sour cream
cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer mixture to a small casserole. Bake dip heated through, about 30 minutes.

Makes 2 cups
 

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Artichoke
[AHR-tih-chohk]

 

 



The globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus), also called "French artichoke" and "green artichoke," derives its common name from the northern Italian words articiocco and articoclos. This latter term is supposed to come from the Ligurian word cocali, meaning a pine cone.

The artichoke is a perennial in the thistle group of the sunflower family and is believed to be a native of the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. In full growth, the plant spreads to cover an area about size feet in diameter and reaches a height of three to four feet. The "vegetable" that we eat is actually the plant's flower bud. If allowed to flower, the blossoms measure up to seven inches in diameter and are a beautiful violet-blue color.

They are available twelve months a year with the peak season in the spring and fall. There are more than 140 artichoke varieties but less than 40 are grown commercially. Today most artichokes grown worldwide are cultivated in France, Italy, and Spain, while California provides nearly 100 percent of the United States crop. One hundred percent of all artichokes grown commercially in the United States are grown in California. Artichoke fields are maintained in perennial culture for five to ten years. Each cropping cycle is initiated by "cutting back" the tops of the plants several inches below the soil surface to stimulate development of new shoots. The operation called "stumping," is timed to regulate the new harvest season.

Baby artichokes are not a separate variety but merely smaller versions of larger artichokes. Their size comes from their location on the artichoke plant. They are picked from the lower parts of the artichoke plant where the plant fronds protect them from sun, in effect stunting their growth.

The healing power of rainforest herbs, Alcachofra is the Brazilian name for the globe artichoke. A member of the milk thistle family, it grows to a height of about 2 m and produces a large, violet-green flower head. The flower petals and fleshy flower bottoms are eaten as a vegetable throughout the world, which has led to its commercial cultivation in many parts of South and North America (chiefly California) as well as in Europe. The artichoke was used as a food and medicine by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans; in Rome, the artichoke was an important menu item at feasts. It wasn't until the fifteenth century, however, that it made its appearance throughout Europe.

Artichoke has been used in traditional medicine for centuries as a specific liver and gallbladder remedy. In Brazilian herbal medicine systems, leaf preparations are used for liver and gallbladder problems, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, anemia, diarrhea (and elimination in general), fevers, ulcers, and gout.

 

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