March 16 is celebrated annually as National Artichoke Hearts Day. Ready for some cooking tips and recipes for this tasty vegetable?
Artichokes may seem intimidating and a little scary when you first encounter them, but they are actually quite easy to cook and use in recipes.
Plus they’re delicious! Read on for some fun facts about artichoke hearts and ways to observe National Artichoke Day.
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What are artichoke hearts?
Artichokes are a colorful vegetable that is very high in antioxidants. The plant originates from the Mediterranean area and is a thistle-like member of the aster family.
Although we normally call artichokes a vegetable, the part that we usually eat is actually a flower bud of the plant. If you allow the bud to ripen, it will then produce a normal flower.
Artichokes were transported from Holland to England by the Dutch in the 1500s and didn’t reach the USA until the 19th century.
Globe artichokes can be grown year round in warm climates but most of the country grows them as an annual plant.
Artichokes can be boiled, steamed, roasted or cooked in the microwave. They are often found as a part of an antipasto platter and very popular in main courses and dips.
How do I know if an artichoke is ripe?
A ripe artichoke will have a green stem. If the stem is black or dark brown, it means the artichoke is quite likely overripe.
Artichokes will take at least 110-150 days to reach mature size.
Fun facts about artichoke hearts
Brush up on your knowledge of artichoke hearts with these fun facts.
- California is known as the artichoke capital of the world.
- Greeks and Romans are known to have eaten artichokes in the 8th century!
- Most of the flavor in an artichoke comes from the heart – the fleshy base of the plant.
- You can grow artichokes yourself, or buy them pickled or packed in water in cans.
- Artichokes are often used in dips and as a topping on pizzas.
- Artichokes are a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C, magnesium and folate.
- According to Greek legends, Zeus turned his mistress Cynara into an artichoke plant when he caught her sneaking away from Olympus.
- The first mention of artichokes was found in a book that discussed the medicinal uses of plants. This dates to 40-70 AD!
- One artichoke plant can produce up to 20 artichoke hearts in a growing season.
- Don’t cook artichokes in aluminum pots. If you do, it will turn the pot a gray color.
How to observe National Artichoke Hearts Day
There are lots of obvious ways to celebrate National artichoke hearts day just by eating. Here are a few other creative ideas to help honor this day.
- Enjoy a cynar cocktail (artichoke is one of the main plants used to make cynar).
- Introduce your little one to artichokes by reading them the board bookA is for Artichoke.
- Make your favorite dish wearing an artichoke apron.
- Try growing your own artichokes from seeds.
- Enjoy your fresh artichokes standing up with these neat artichoke holders.
- Have you heard of a cookie exchange? Celebrate the day by having an artichoke heart swap. Have your friend bring over their favorite artichoke dish (and recipe) to share with friends.
- Try one of the recipes that feature artichoke hearts. You’ll find them at the bottom of this page.
- Do the word search puzzle for March to see if you can find Artichoke Hearts day in it.
- Use the hashtag #NationalArtichokeHeartsDay to spread the word about the day on social media. Here is a tweet to get you started:
What is a national day?
National days of the year are a fun way to celebrate odd and unusual foods such as artichoke hearts, as well as animals and items that you come into contact with.
Be sure to check out my national day’s guide for more fun days to celebrate.
There are close to 2000 national days in the year and over 150 of them are celebrated in February. To see them all, have a look at this post to discover more about the national days in March.
Is food your thing? Each day of the month has a food or drink associated with it, too. You’ll find all the March food holidays here.
Be sure to also check out these other national days this month:
- National Peanut Cluster Day
- National Canadian Bacon Day
- National Chip and Dip Day
- National Spinach Day
Pin these recipes for National Artichoke Hearts Day for later
Would you like a reminder of these recipes for National Artichoke Hearts Day? Just pin this image to one of your cooking boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
Artichoke hearts recipes
These recipes that feature artichoke hearts will show you just how versatile this popular vegetable is. Why not try one today?
- Chicken piccata with artichoke hearts
- Greek omelette with artichokes and feta cheese
- Keto chicken artichoke casserole
- Chicken pizza with artichokes and peppers
- Chicken thighs with artichokes and sun dried tomatoes
- Healthy antipasto salad with artichokes
- Baked chicken with spinach and artichokes.
- Artichoke hearts with Parmesan breadcrumbs
- Artichoke hearts in white wine butter sauce
And my favorite way to use artichoke hearts is in the hot spinach and artichoke dip. You can print it out below.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- 14 ounces artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- To serve: Pita chips with sea salt, or crackers
- Preheat the oven to 350 º F. Lightly grease a small to medium sized baking dish.
- In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, minced garlic, fresh basil, garlic salt, salt and pepper.
- Stir in the chopped artichoke hearts, spinach, and mozzarella cheese and mix well.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly and lightly browned.
- Serve with Pita chips with a light sea salt coating.
This recipe is use with permission of Recipes Just 4U. Click through to see a photo tutorial for the dip.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 83Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 141mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
Nutritional information is approximate due to natural variation in ingredients and the cook-at-home nature of our meals.