Artichokes can be intimidating. They’re spiky, hefty, and a little confusing for a first timer. The petals are tough and there’s that bizarre fuzzy, inedible section in the middle (the “choke” of the artichoke), but for those dedicated enough to reach it, the artichoke’s heart delicious and very much worth the effort. Here’s a handy guide to enjoying every part of the artichoke!
Trimming the artichokes
First, if your artichoke has thorns on the petals, you’ll probably want to trim them off. Just grab a set of scissors and snip off about 1/2 an inch to 1 inch off each one. (You can skip this step if you want, since the thorns will likely soften and/or fall off during cooking anyway). If there are very small petals around the base of the artichoke, pull those off too. Trim the stem to about 1 inch in length, if needed.*
*The stems tend to be bitter and fibrous, but some people enjoy eating them. If you peel off the tougher outside layers like you would for asparagus, they will be more tender.
Steaming the artichokes
Boil about 1/2 inch of salted water in a deep pot. Put your washed, trimmed artichokes into the water (they should be mostly above the water line, not submerged), Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer, and let the artichokes cook until the outer leaves can be easily pulled off. If there’s any resistance, just let it keep cooking. The cooking process can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of your artichokes.
Eating the artichokes
The only part of the artichoke that you can’t eat is the fuzzy “choke” part.
- Petals: Each petal has a tender underbelly with a fibrous shell. Most people just scrape the tender part off with their teeth and discard the rest of the petal.
- Heart: The artichoke heart is that delicious, gray-ish green disc beneath the fuzzy, inedible choke. Just scrape off the fuzzy part to get to the heart!
- Stems: As mentioned earlier, you can eat the stems of the artichoke too! For more tender stems, peel off the fibrous outside prior to cooking.
And here are a few more Yummly artichoke recipes to try!