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The fleshy center section of the artichoke, which is referred to as the heart of the artichoke. The artichoke is a tall plant that is a relative of the thistle plant and native to Mediterranean regions, but is also grown in other parts of the world. It consists of tough, pointed, green leaves that are tightly packed around a gray-green center. It is the fleshy base of the leaves, known as the bottom, and the fleshy center or heart of the artichoke that are the sections of the plant most suitable for eating. Artichoke hearts are favored due to their tender texture and more flavorful taste. The hearts, like the artichoke bottoms, can be served as snacks, appetizers or as a tasty ingredient for salads and other side dishes.
Artichoke hearts are the tender inner portion beneath the leaves of globe artichokes. They are available canned, in jars and frozen.