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Spring has officially begun, and we’re so excited that we’re sharing a bonus with you—more fruits and veggies for this month!

Each month we are giving you a suggestion of a fruit and veggie to feature at your family’s table. Sometimes, we offer something that is already familiar, like a tangerine, with new ideas for serving and other times we take something that is more unknown, like an artichoke, and introduce what to do with it. Join us this month as we explore tangerines and artichokes.

Tangerines

Tangerines have become a favorite citrus fruit of moms as they are easy to peel and are already bite sized. This sweet, juicy fruit is a favorite for kids, as well, and is often referred to as a mandarin orange. Like similar citrus fruits, tangerines are loaded with Vitamin C and potassium and have even more iron and Vitamin A than an orange.

Many of us are familiar with eating these juicy bites just as they come but they also are a great complement in many recipes. Try using the juice from a tangerine to marinate your pork or add it to mashed sweet potatoes or steamed carrots. Tangerines are also a great addition to a salad like the suggested Kale Salad below:

Kale Salad

Wash and shred a bunch of kale.

Add tangerine wedges, blue cheese, and sunflower seeds.

Top with a citrus dressing.

Artichokes

Before we go further, we must confess, the artichoke is actually a thistle! Our veggie of the month is living a lie! Now that we have that out of the way, we hope you will allow us to continue…

Artichokes are often associated with a creamy dip or as an addition to a salad. Often, we stroll through the produce section and our eyes see a pretty green artichoke but we quickly divert our gaze – we don’t know what to do with one of those! Well, allow this month’s “veggie” to have you facing your fears and grabbing a few of those mysterious fresh artichokes and trying them out with your family.

Artichokes include lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber. So give them a try — at least once — with your family!

When shopping for artichokes, choose the ones with petals that haven’t opened. These will be the fresher artichokes in the bunch. Also, sometimes for presentation, before cooking the artichoke people like to snip the thorns off the tips. This isn’t necessary but can make for a prettier end product and can make them easier to handle prior to cooking.

 

How to Cook a Fresh Artichoke:

  1. Cut off the stem at the bottom of the artichoke and remove the small leaves at the base.
  2. Cut off about an inch off the top of the artichoke.
  3. Rinse the artichoke thoroughly. Try to open the petals as you rinse to allow for the water the get in between them.
  4. Simmer water in the bottom of a steamer pot and put the artichokes in the steamer basket. If you would like, season the water a bit with garlic or other seasonings.
  5. Allow artichokes to steam in the basket for about 30-45 minutes or until the leaves are tender. Artichokes are ready when the outer leaves can easily be removed.

How to Enjoy a Freshly Cooked Artichoke:

  1. Pull off outer petals and dip into melted butter.
  2. Hold firmly to the tip of the petal and place it in your mouth, between your teeth. Pull the petal through your teeth, pulling out the fleshy part of the artichoke.
  3. Continue eating the artichoke petals all the way through to the center, revealing the choke (fuzzy part that covers the artichoke heart).
  4. Discard the fuzzy choke and enjoy the artichoke heart as your final taste of this new veggie!
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