Preparing artichokes can be an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you know a few simple techniques, you’ll be enjoying these green orbs in no time!
I never ate an artichoke until I was 20 years old, but I’ve loved them ever since. Hubs can take ’em or leave ’em which is fine with me. More for me!
Slowly but surely, my children have acquired a taste for artichokes, so it’s fun to have partners in my munching.
Artichokes are definitely an interesting vegetable. They tend to intimidate people. They’re green and prickly and altogether weird looking.
But, they are a treasure of fun and yumminess! Don’t be intimidated about preparing artichokes. You can prepare this delicious vegetable that the whole family will love.
(Just tell your kids that Eeyore would eat them, and they just might try them.)
What is an artichoke?
The edible flower of bud of a larger plant, the artichoke is actually an edible thistle.
Globe artichokes, considered to be the “true artichoke,” are cultivated mainly in California’s Central Coast. While available year-round, artichokes’ season peaks from March to May.
Artichokes are also available frozen or canned. But, I think eating them fresh is a fun adventure.
When purchasing fresh artichokes at the grocery store or farmer’s market, look for dark green specimens with tightly closed leaves that are heavy for their size.
Artichokes can range in price, getting as high as $4 each. I consider $1.50 to be a decent sale price, but have seen them as low as $0.88 each. Sometimes, they are marked down 2 or 3 for a buck.
Artichokes are best eaten right away. If you must, store them unwashed in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Artichokes are super easy to prepare.
- Cut off the stem end so that it can rest flat on the plate.
- Cut off the top of the artichoke.
- If the leaves are prickly, cut off their tips, as shown above.
- Place the artichokes in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil until leaves pull away from the bottom easily. You can also cook the artichokes in a pressure cooker.
- Serve with melted butter or favorite sauces.
How long should you cook artichokes?
To boil the artichokes: The boiling time will depend on the size of the artichoke. Start checking after 15 minutes, but know it could take as long as 40.
To pressure cook the artichokes: Cook the artichokes for 10 to 15 minutes (longer for very large artichokes) with a quick release at the end of cooking.
Due to the time investment required to freeze or can artichokes yourself, it may be more economical to buy them already frozen or canned.
However, if you have an abundance or find a crazy good deal, it’s not hard to freeze the hearts.
- Prep the artichokes as directed and blanch in hot water for 7 minutes.
- Plunge them into cold water. Remove the leaves and consume or compost.
- Once you’ve removed the leaves, trim the hearts, package in a freezer-safe container and chill completely prior to freezing.
This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
Here’s what I use for this recipe:
- a sharp chef’s knife
- kitchen shears
- large cutting board
- large heavy pot
How to Prepare Artichokes
- 4 artichokes
- dipping sauces for artichokes
- Cut off the stem ends so that each artichoke can stand on its own.4 artichokes
- Cut off the very top of the artichoke. If the leaves are poky, cut off their prickly tips. You don’t want to get hurt eating an artichoke! After you’ve trimmed the leaves, the artichoke should resemble a flower.
- In a large pot of boiling water or in a pot of hot water with a steamer basket inserted, boil or steam the artichokes until an outer leaf pulls away from the bottom easily. The time this takes will depend on the size of the artichoke. Check it after fifteen minutes and then every five minutes until the artichokes are tender.
- Serve the cooked artichokes with melted butter or a dipping saucedipping sauces for artichokes
This post was originally published May 5, 2010. It has been updated for content and clarity.