Artichokes can be one of those intimidating vegetables that you just don’t know how to prepare, cook or even eat! We’ve surrounded ourselves with artichokes here at the LCK test kitchen to make ultimate guide on how to prepare artichokes. In addition we also tested many different ways to cook them and we are sharing our conclusions and our favorite method, as well as a recipe to go along with it. Scroll down for everything you need to know about artichokes!
Everything You Need to Know How to Prepare Artichokes
Let’s be honest, cooking and eating an artichoke is NOT the easiest or fastest way to get a meal on the table. But these vegetables are a special treat, both in health and taste, and when spring rolls around they’re a great way to celebrate the season. Artichokes are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and are rich in anti-oxidants. But more importantly, their nutty and rich taste is well worth the effort it takes to prepare them.
What Kind to Buy
Artichokes are typically available in season between March and May, and sometimes again mid-fall. The most common type of artichoke you will find in the store is the globe artichoke. They are typically available fully grown, or can also be found as “baby” globe artichokes. Choose artichokes that feels heavy for their size, indicating that it has a good amount of moisture, with tightly closed leaves. The artichoke should not have a lot of bruising or brown spots.
How To Prepare Fresh Artichokes For Cooking
The most important part in cooking artichokes is the preparation beforehand! The globe artichoke, which in it’s raw form is actually a botanical flower, is not all edible. The edible part is the “heart” found at the bottom of the artichoke. You’ll be removing a good portion of the top part of the artichoke as this is not edible at all. There is a little bit of work involved in getting the artichoke ready before you actually cook it, but we have all you need to know here to make it super simple:
- Trim off the dry tip of the stem (or if you do not like the taste of the stem you can remove the whole thing) and peel it using a vegetable peeler.
- Trim off the top 1/3 of the artichoke and squeeze a bit of lemon juice on to cut areas to prevent browning. Using a serrated knife is easiest.
- Using kitchen sheers trim off the remaining thistles on the outer leaves. Be careful as they can poke you!
- Gently open up the artichoke by pressing on it to push open the leaves and rinse really well under cold water, getting water inside of the leaves to get out any debris. If it is really dirty submerge it in a large bowl of ice water and allow all of the dirt to come out of the leaves.
- Depending on your preferred cooking preparation at this point you will either leave it whole to cook, or you will cut it in half. If you are cutting it in half you will need to remove the choke before cooking as this is not edible (and like the name suggests can in fact cause you to choke if consumed). This is the purple / pink inner leaves extending down to the white fuzzy hairs. Simple scoop it out and discard.
How Do You Cook An Artichoke?
We tested a lot of methods for cooking artichokes! We tried roasting in the oven, boiling, steaming in the Instant Pot and braising them. For us we really wanted to keep all that delicious moisture and flavor in the artichokes! In the end, our favorite method was braising them. Check out our recipe for Braised Artichokes with Garlicky Pecan Bread Crumbs for more details. But using other methods of cooking has it’s place as well!
- Sear artichokes.
- Add braising liquid and braise until tender, about 20-25 minutes.
- Top with breadcrumbs and broil.
- Pre-heat the oven to 425º F and prepare and clean the artichokes for cooking (instructions above).
- Place desired amount of artichokes in a foil packet. Make sure to seal it tightly to prevent any moisture from escaping.
- Bake for 50 minutes. Take care when opening up the foil packet as some hot steam may come out.
- Fill a large pot with salted water and 6 garlic cloves and heat on high.
- Prepare and clean 4-6 artichokes for cooking. Make sure to leave the artichoke whole.
- Place prepared artichokes in water and boil for 25 minutes, or until the artichoke can easily be pierced with a knife.
Instant Pot Artichokes:
- Set the steam basket inside a 6 or 8 quart pressure cooker and fill it with 2 cups of water.
- Prepare and clean 4 artichokes.
- Place artichokes stem side down in the pressure cooker and close the lid and set to sealing.
- Cook on manual high for 10 minutes with a 10 minutes natural pressure release. Once 10 minutes NPR is finished, carefully release any remaining steam.
How Do You Eat An Artichoke?
Artichokes are delicious eaten hot, room temperature and even cold! To eat, you remove the leaves, one by one and scrap the soft pulp with your teeth. It is good dipped in sauce, melted butter or even just with a touch of salt! Once you remove all the leaves, if your artichoke is whole you will need to remove out the choke. It is the fuzzy center of the artichoke on top of the soft heart at the bottom. Simply scoop it out with a spoon and discard. The heart is the bottom soft portion above the stem. The stem is also edible, though some people find it too bitter to eat. We here, at LCK, love it!
Love artichokes? Try these other artichoke recipes:
- Braised Artichokes with Garlicky Pecan Bread Crumbs
- Healthy Spinach and Artichoke Dip
- Lemon Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Artichokes, and Capers
- Mediterranean Tuna Salad
- Braised Artichokes with Garlicky Pecan Breadcrumbs
- Also, here’s our guide of what’s in season in the Spring!
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