Organic Artichokes

Ever make fresh Artichokes at home? Go for it. You can do it! The heart and the flesh at the base of the petals of a cooked Artichoke have a mild vegetable flavor that is slightly nutty – perfect to add to casseroles, potato salads, dips and more!

Are you intimidated by these thorny veggies? Well, me too, actually. But hey, once you try it yourself, you realize that with a little basic information – its not that tough! Jon talks about the basics of fresh Artichokes: how to prepare, cook and eat them.

How-To Select, Prepare, Cook and Eat Artichokes

Selecting

  • Select Artichokes that feel firm, have tight petals and have a fresh squeak when you squeeze them.
  • But handle carefully! Some Artichoke varieties have sharp thorns this time of year at the tip of the petals.

Preparing

  • Wash to remove outer natural waxy coating (which can taste bitter)
  • Trim ½” from base of stem, peel outer portion of the stem. Middle of stem is an extension of the edible “heart.” Or just remove stem completely.
  • Pull off small petals from stem plus small petals at the bottom of the Artichoke.
  • Optional: Snip the thorny tips of each petal with a scissors.
  • Cut ½”-1” off the top of the Artichoke
  • Optional: Rub cut areas with lemon juice or dip in lemon water to prevent browning/oxidation

Cooking

  • Boil: 25-45 minutes in salted water, submerged, cover with lid
  • Steam: 30-40 minutes, stem side up
  • Bake: 55-75 minutes, double wrapped in foil, stem side down, minced garlic/olive oil/balsamic vinegar drizzled between petals
  • Microwave: 15-20 minutes in ½” water in dish, dish covered with plastic wrap, garlic/olive oil/balsamic vinegar drizzled between petals.  Or buy artichokes now in a “Microwave Ready” pack which will steam 2 cleaned and prepped artichokes in 6-7 minutes.
  • Grill: use fully cooked Artichoke from one of the above methods, halve it, brush with oil, season with salt/pepper, grill 4-5 minutes per side

Eating

  • Pull flesh from the base of the petal with your teeth. Many people prefer to dip the petals in melted butter, olive oil, balsamic vinegar or garlic-seasoned mayonnaise
  • Remove the inedible, fibrous and fuzzy middle portion (the choke) with a spoon
  • Below the Choke is the Artichoke Heart, this part is the meatiest and can be cut up and added to pastas, soups, casseroles, dips, antipastos and more.

Recipes: 21 beautiful and inspiring artichoke recipes from CookingLight.com can be found here.