The Reason Canned Artichokes May Be A Better Option Than Fresh

It's a bit of a misnomer that fresh vegetables are always superior to canned varieties. There's nothing wrong with canned food. This is especially true when it comes to artichokes, as buying and cooking the vegetable fresh comes with a lot of hassle. On the other hand, canned versions offer the same great flavor and are much easier to prepare, as fresh versions involve the cumbersome process of cutting and trimming to get to the tender heart at the center of the vegetable.

Cost is another factor to consider, as canned artichokes are far more affordable and accessible. Consider that your average 14-ounce can of artichoke hearts costs about $2.49. In comparison, a fresh artichoke might retail for $2.74, and you would need to purchase multiple artichokes to equal the amount contained in a single can. Then there's the issue of seasonality, as artichokes are at their best between June and September. That means finding good fresh artichokes at other times may be challenging. Besides being a convenient option, canned artichokes are also very good for you.

Health benefits of canned artichokes

When it comes to nutrition, canned artichokes have a lot to offer. The vegetable is an excellent source of essential nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber. Vitamin C potentially supports the immune system, while potassium helps to ensure the proper fluid balance on a cellular level and prevent muscle cramps. Additionally, folate helps produce red blood cells; fiber is essential for proper digestion. Canned artichokes are also ideal for people looking for healthy eating options — the nutritious vegetable has zero fat and 25 calories per serving.

Despite their potential health benefits, canned foods can contain a lot more sodium than fresh varieties, with an average brand of canned artichokes containing about 310 milligrams. If you're concerned about your salt intake, look for low-salt canned brands to keep your sodium levels under control. You can also drain and rinse the vegetables to wash away some of the excess salt to ensure your meal is as healthy as it is convenient.

How fresh and canned compare when it comes to meal prep

Because it can be notoriously arduous to prep an artichoke, many people choose to avoid doing it themselves when it comes to accessing the heart of the vegetable. First, you must do away with all the leaves, then cut around the heart to remove any lingering green sections. Next, you'll need to remove the fuzzy choke, trim some more, and submerge the heart in water to prepare it for cooking. After all this hard work, you can finally incorporate the vegetable into your recipes.

On the other hand, canned artichokes couldn't be easier to prepare. You simply open the can, drain and rinse the artichoke hearts, cut them up, and add them to your dishes. You can enjoy them as an out-of-the-box vegetable side to give your dinnertime favorites a rest, or add them to pasta for an extra boost of nutrition and flavor. They also work quite well with sandwiches and salads. This unique combination of versatility and convenience means that everyone should have a can of artichokes accessible in their kitchen pantries at all times.