Cooked prebiotic artichoke on a plate with lemon

Canned vs Frozen Artichoke Hearts

Cooked prebiotic artichoke on a plate with lemon

 

If you’re like me, you love artichoke hearts.

 

I love them in a green or mixed vegetable salad or marinaded, as a side vegetable to any meat or poultry dish.

 

They make an awesome “must-have” of any appetizer plate with cheeses, crackers, fruit etc. They’re also great roasted with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Slurp!

 

Fresh artichoke is a spring time favourite but it can be expensive and a bit of a workout to trim and cook.

 

Canned, jarred and frozen artichoke hearts are easy to have on hand and can be part of your pantry year round. Is there a difference nutritionally though?

 

Canned vs frozen artichoke hearts

Frozen – like all frozen fruits and vegetables, frozen artichokes would be picked at their peak ripeness and flash frozen. Frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh when in season and local.

 

Fresh foods that are picked early and transported 100s of km will lose some of their taste, quality and nutrients BUT not to the point that makes them the nutritional equivalent of cardboard despite what you might read on the internet.

 

The trick to using frozen artichoke hearts in most recipes is that they must be defrosted and drained first. As you can imagine, they will release a lot of water which can affect what your making.

 

Fresh Organic Artichoke Dip with fresh Bread

 

Some recipes might be able to handle the excess fluid, like a dip but for others, not so much. Be sure to use a paper towel and give a squeeze to get rid of the extra water.

 

From a price point of view, they are in the $4.99 range for a 395-400 g bag at Longo’s for example.

 

Despite being frozen, many frozen varieties of artichoke hearts will have some added salt to tenderize and help preserve them. An 80 to 100 g serving of frozen artichoke hearts will have about 280 mg of sodium. One serving will also provide about 15% DV (Daily Value) of your recommended vitamin C. Not to be overshadowed, a 100 g serving will have about 3-5 g of fiber and 280 mg of potassium.

 

Canned – like all canned foods, canned artichoke hearts will last longer than frozen which will eventually get freezer burned.

 

Canned foods have gotten a bad rap over the years includnig claims of being nutritionally void or full of BPA. If this is a concern of yours, go for organic canned artichoke hearts which typically always use BPA-free cans.

 

If you’re looking for ways to decrease your exposure to BPA, read my post Eating Canned Soup Leads to Increased Urinary BPA.

 

Young customer taking canned food from the shelf in the store

 

I’ve found canned artichoke hearts to be a bit cheaper. At Longo’s, you can get a 398 g can for $3.79. Canned artichokes are packed in water, salt and often citric acid (acts as an antioxidant to prevent them from discolouring).

 

Like the frozen versions, canned has added salt; usually a little more than frozen. A 100 g serving has about 340 mg of sodium, as well as, 90 mcg of folate and a decent amount of potassium, 286 mg. You’ll also get about 3-5 g of fiber per serving too.

 

Just as you would likely rinse other canned foods like chickpeas or lentils, canned artichoke hearts should be rinsed with cool water to remove excess salt. Once drained completely, canned like frozen, should be gently squeezed to remove excess water and then pat dried.

 

Artichokes are one of the best sources of prebiotics too. To learn more about this superstar  fiber, check out my post 9 Sources of Prebiotic Fiber for a Happy Gut.

 

Using canned and frozen artichoke hearts

Once defrosted, frozen artichoke hearts have nearly the same texture as the canned version. Both are softer and more likely to fall apart than a fresh artichoke heart, even one that has been cooked.

 

You only need to be aware of this as it will affect the texture of the recipe you’re using.

 

Canned – good for salads, antipasto, dips or any dish that would benefit from a more briny edge. They can be roasted too.

Frozen – best for pastas, slow-cooked dishes like stews and casseroles, for roasting or even sauteed.

 

Really it’s about tailoring your use based on how you want to use them. Both are reasonably priced, convenient to have on hand and equally nutritious. Don’t pit one version against the other but rather leverage their qualities to make your life int he kitchen easier!!

 

Looking for a great dinner recipe? Check out Artichoke Hearts and Pasta

 

Doug Cook RDN is a Toronto based integrative and functional nutritionist and dietitian with a focus on digestive, gut, mental health.  Follow me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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