Artichokes: packed with healthy properties

Spiky artichokes might look unappetizing, but their soft center and versatile nature make them a great friend in the kitchen – and a great natural source of healthy properties! The beneficial properties of artichokes were well-known to the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who used them for all sorts of things.

Artichokes (Cynara scolymus) are a vegetable belonging to the Asteraceae, or Compositae, family. They come from herbaceous perennials that can grow up to two meters in height.

Luckily for us here in Italy, we produce a vast range of artichokes – and the quality matches the quantity!

There are over 90 varieties of artichoke grown in Italy, some of which are highly prized. It’s well worth trying the Spiky Sardinian Artichoke, the Sicilian Violet Artichoke, the Spineless Roman Artichoke and the Purple Albenga Spiny Artichoke, which is a typical product of our beloved Liguria. The Albenga artichoke – which has become a symbol of the town of Albenga, situated in the Province of Savona – is easily recognizable on account of its purple leaves, which are both crunchy and tender all at once.

A remedy against toxins

As we’ve already said, artichokes aren’t just loved by chefs. They’re also a great ally when it comes to keeping us fit and healthy, thanks to the variety of properties and benefits they contain.

One of the most interesting properties of the artichoke is cynarine, a polyphenol extracted from its leaves and deriving from caffeic acid. Cynarine is a purifier, a diuretic and a detoxifier, with particularly beneficial properties for the liver.

Properties of artichokes – Fratelli Carli

Like most vegetables, artichokes consist mainly of water and vegetable fiber. As such, they represent a great source of precious minerals such as sodium, potassium, phosphorous and calcium.

By eating more artichokes, you also get more Vitamin C, B1, B3 and – last but not least – K, which helps to prevent osteoporosis.

Artichoke Hearts: delicious delicacies

The artichoke is a really versatile ingredient which can be enjoyed in many different ways: raw in salads, added to pasta and risotto dishes, as an accompaniment to succulent main courses or on their own, as an antipasto.

That’s the best way to enjoy our Artichoke Hearts! There’s no way you can resist these delicious morsels – they truly are a delight for the palate.

We carefully select our artichokes and harvest them by hand when they have reached optimum ripeness, between late March and mid-May. We use only the most tender, delicate parts for our Artichoke Hearts, to make sure they hit the spot in terms of both consistency and flavor.

They’re not just good to eat – they're attractive too! Arrange them whole on a plate to show off the perfect flowers and bright coloring. Our artichokes are carefully packed into jars by hand, one by one, before being covered by our Olive Oil. The oil plays an essential role in preserving the artichokes, but it also serves as a condiment, bringing out their sweetness.

Benefits of artichokes – Fratelli Carli

Small yet perfectly formed, our Artichoke Hearts can be eaten on their own, all in one go, or added to some of your best-loved recipes:

  • to enhance the flavor of a swordfish carpaccio
  • to flavor focaccia, pizza or gourmet sandwiches
  • to take a rice or farro salad to the next level
  • to accompany a platter of cured meats and cheeses

Artichoke Heart Spread: flavorsome and smooth

The most tender part of the Artichoke Heart is also used as the secret ingredient in another delicious treat: our Artichoke Heart Spread. With its smooth consistency and delicate, fragrant flavor, this spread is a must in the larder of any foodie.

The recipe for this Fratelli Carli Artichoke Heart Spread is super simple. We use the same tender yet crisp hearts that go into our Artichoke Hearts product, but this time we add some of our Olive Oil and a few other ingredients to bring out the flavor, such as vinegar and garlic. The result of this wonderful combination is a velvety spread with a sweet, sophisticated taste and a deliciously acidic note to finish.

Our Artichoke Heart Spread is a versatile product which works well in a range of different recipes and dishes:

  • when used on its own or in combination with other ingredients, it can work wonders for savory tarts or bruschettas as part of an aperitivo
  • it’s makes for a knock-out addition to sandwiches or focaccia
  • it adds extra flavor to eggplant parmigiana and vegetable lasagne
  • it can be used instead of mayonnaise as an accompaniment for hard-boiled eggs or other tasty snacks.
Artichokes properties – Fratelli Carli

When the tenderness of artichoke meets the flavor of tomato

Perhaps the best quality of the artichoke is its versatility and the way its delicate flavor can easily be combined with lots of different ingredients.

Our Pasta Sauce with Artichoke is the result of the combination of tender Artichoke Hearts and the full flavor of tomato pulp. This ready-to-eat sauce needs no additional preparation thanks to its sweet, well-balanced flavor, which is taken to the next level thanks to three other quintessentially Mediterranean products: Sundried Tomatoes, Capers and Genoese Basil DOP.

Artichokes benefits – Fratelli Carli

The ingredients are cooked together slowly, resulting in a smooth consistency and a vibrant red color which reveals glimpses of the pieces of Artichoke Hearts and capers.

This irresistible Pasta Sauce with Artichoke is wonderful with pasta, of course, but it can also be used for other dishes. Try using it to enrich a delicious risotto or to make roast beef or cold meat even more flavorsome.