An artichoke makes you work for its 10 grams of fiber and 63 calories! You pull, dip, and scrape each leaf on a cooked artichoke. Then, with your top teeth, you scrape the flesh from the leaf. It takes about 10 minutes to properly eat an artichoke (I actually timed myself). Each medium globe artichoke also gives you 9 milligrams of vitamin C and 107 micrograms of folate.
- To buy: Look for plump artichokes that feel heavy for their size with tightly closed leaves. If possible, pull back one of the outer leaves to check that the insides don't have black spots.
- To store: Refrigerate artichokes, unwashed, in a plastic produce bag for up to a week. Keep dry to prevent mold.
- To cook: Wash in cold water and cut off stem at base. If desired, you can trim off the thorns by cutting 1/2 inch off the tip of each outer leaf. Artichoke are commonly boiled until tender, but also can be cut in half lengthwise and cooked fairly quickly with some water (1/8 cup per choke) in the microwave.
If you don't like broccoli, chances are you've had it overcooked in the past. When broccoli is overcooked, its bright green color turns to dingy dark green and its flavor can go from pleasantly subtle to stinky-strong. If you're willing to give broccoli another try, try it raw in salad or as an appetizer with a light dip; lightly cooked in a stir fry; or steamed. It's worth the trouble because broccoli is what I would call a super-vegetable. One cup of fresh florets provides 2 grams of fiber, 2,130 international units (IU) of vitamin A, 66 milligrams of vitamin C, and 50 micrograms of folate, all for 20 measly calories.
- To buy: Look for odorless heads with tight, bluish-green florets. If the floret part is yellow, it's been there too long.
- To store: Broccoli will keep well in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a few days.
- To cook: Cook just until tender by stir-frying, steaming, or in the microwave. Watch the cooking time carefully to avoid overcooking.