Learning how to cook artichokes is a California basic. Artichokes are a staple ingredient seen in grocery stores across the state in the spring months and to a less extent in October.
Making freshly-steamed artichokes are one of my favorite foods! If you’re looking for a light dinner or a healthy appetizer, make this fibrous vegetable as a crowd pleaser.
After cutting the artichoke, it will begin to oxidize almost immediately. Either spray the freshly-cut artichoke with lemon juice submerge the artichoke into a large bowl or dutch oven of lemon water. Even though oxidation won’t hurt you, a bright green artichoke is much more attractive than a brown one!
Cooking Artichokes is Easy
Have you ever wondered how to prepare and cook artichokes? It can be intimidating if you’ve never cooked an artichoke before but it is as easy as steaming any other vegetable. Artichokes may look daunting with their spikes but they’re easy to prepare once you know how to. It’s just cutting off the tops and the sharp edges. You can even eat the stem if you desire. We are used to just eating the canned heart of the artichoke, but once you have a fresh artichoke, there’s no going back.
Once your pot boiling your artichokes, add in a freshly-cut lemon or a couple teaspoons of lemon juice and add a lid to your pot and leave it ajar so steam can escape. Set your kitchen timer for an hour but check on your pot every 10 minutes or so for the water level. You don’t want the water to boil out and then the bottoms of the artichokes to burn!
Freshly steamed artichokes are as Californian as it gets. They can be paired with your favorite sauce, but the most popular of artichoke dipping sauces are mayonnaise, butter or you can whip up an easy garlic aioli.
How to Prepare Artichokes
The most important part of preparing artichokes is remembering to cut off the tops, just like in the pictures shown. If you forget to chop off the tops, it’ll be difficult for you to actually eat your artichoke.
You can either chop off your stem or you can actually peel your stem with a vegetable peeler and boil the whole artichoke and eat the stem like you would the heart. Personally, I chop off the stem so I can get to the heart directly, but that’s just me.
If you are wondering how long to boil artichokes, you will want to boil them until the leaves can easily be torn from the heart, usually about 60 minutes for a medium to large sized choke.
How to Eat Artichokes
Now, on to the best part! Eating the artichokes.
Eating artichokes is as much an art form to make it look graceful as it is delicious.
First, take the artichoke out of the boiling water and drain it for a minute or two so that all the excess water won’t burn you or drain onto your plate when you begin eating the artichoke. While the artichoke is draining, make your dipping sauce for the artichoke. Most people enjoy dipping their artichoke into mayonnaise or butter, but you can up the ante and make a garlic aioli or a spicy sriracha mayo to dip your artichoke into.
Now that you have your artichoke and sauce ready, you are ready to eat! Peal the leaves back one by one and dip them into your sauce. Scrape the tender end of the leaves off with your teeth and discard the rest of the leaf. When there are no large green leaves to peal off, take off the whiter leaves and discard. Take a knife and cut out the sharp purple hairs, known as the choke, to expose the soft heart of the artichoke. The heart is known as the most desirable part of the artichoke.
Are Artichokes Healthy?
Artichokes are incredibly nutritious and healthy. It is a fibrous vegetable that is low in calories. Each artichoke is only 60 calories and has 7 grams of fiber with almost 5 grams of vegetable protein. Artichokes are also chock-full of Vitamin C with each artichoke giving you 25% of your daily value and 19% of your daily value of Magnesium.
Did you learn how to cook and prepare artichokes? Tell me in the comments below. Share with me how your artichokes turned out.