Today is National Artichoke Hearts Day! Artichokes are one of the oldest foods known to man. The plant originated in the Mediterranean region and is part of the sunflower family. According to Greek mythology, Zeus turned his mistress Cynara into the first artichoke plant when he caught her sneaking away from Olympia.
Although we usually refer to it as a vegetable, the produce we eat is actually the flower bud of the artichoke plant. If you let the flower blossom, it turns a beautiful violet-blue color. People enjoy artichokes boiled, baked, steamed, grilled, deep fried, and stuffed with all sorts of yummy fillings.
Almost every artichoke produced in the United States comes from California. Did you know that the town of Castroville, California crowned its first “Artichoke Queen” in 1947? The winner was a young actress named Norma Jean Mortenson who later changed her name to Marilyn Monroe!
To celebrate National Artichoke Hearts Day, try out a new artichoke recipe for dinner tonight!