We’re launching a fun new campaign here at RCFM, pitting eggplants and artichokes, the two veggies in our logo, against one another. Team Artichoke is represented by Darin, the Executive Chef at local favourite restaurant, The Orange Room. The Orange Room specializes in trying to find as many items as they can sourced from local BC suppliers and creates unique signature dishes. They are “super yum” as far as we are concerned. The Orange Room is family friendly and vegetarian friendly as well. Check out their website for their phone number, address, and all that good stuff.
When the Royal City Farmer’s Market asked me to be their spokesperson for Team Artichoke I only had one question….
Could they have made my job any easier?
To think that an eggplant could be somehow “better” than an artichoke in any shape or form is completely ridiculous. For starters, let’s compare the two products in their purest form….RAW. An artichoke tastes fantastic raw, either fresh peeled or canned or in a jar with marinade. Have you ever tried to eat a raw eggplant? Don’t bother trying, I can save you the trouble: it tasted like a sponge wrapped in rubber.
From a culinary standpoint, one of the best attributes of an artichoke is it’s diversity. There is a plethora of ways to prepare and cook them. Artichokes taste great baked in a tart, grilled, beer battered and deep fried, tossed in a pasta, and of course the ever popular spinach and artichoke dip. They are a staple in Italian cuisine, and have become extremely popular worldwide in every kind of restaurant. From family restaurants, to pubs to high en fine dining you will almost always find artichokes in some shape or form in the kitchen. They also possess great keeping qualities, so you can buy a bulk amount of fresh artichokes and they will remain fresh for about two and a half weeks.
Apart from culinary uses, they are also used to make herbal tea in the Da Lat region on Vietnam, and they are the primary flavouring agent in the Italian liqueur Cynar. Try making a tea or liqueur based on an eggplant and let me know how that turns out for you…..
One common myth about fresh artichokes is that they are a pain to peel and the only useable part of the artichoke is the heart. For starters, once you learn the proper way to peel the artichoke it only takes seconds. Furthermore, almost the entire artichoke is actually edible and/or useable! The leaves themselves once boiled contain a soft , pulpy and delicious substance. This pulpy substance also has health benefits, as it helps digestion and is known to lower cholesterol levels. As well the stem of the plant once peeled tastes exactly the same as the heart of the plant.
Not only are these vegetables delicious but they are also extremely healthy to boot! Artichokes are a great source of dietary fibre, potassium, Iron, vitamin C, and Vitamin B (1, 2, 3, 5 ,and 6).
The proof is in the facts. Artichokes not only taste sixteen times better than eggplants, but they are alos diverse, healthy, and have more than culinary applications to offer. Eggplant lovers can have all the babaganouj they want. I’ll take any of the hundreds of ways to eat and prepare artichokes any day of the week.