Artichokes can be intimidating. Diving into those prickly leaves can lead to poked fingers and plenty of frustration. But when you bother to take that dive you are rewarded with a very nutty, lightly tannic, utterly delicious result. I show you how to buy, store, trim, and cook artichokes below so you can turn those thorny delights of spring (and, to a lesser degree, fall) into tasty treats.
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Look for artichokes with closed heads - the leaves should form tight, compact layers. The whole artichoke should be firm and feel heavy for its size. The stem will be brown if it was cut more than a few hours ago, but it shouldn't feel either slimy or dry.
Keep artichokes loosely wrapped in plastic in the fridge. Fresh artichokes will last up to a week, but like all veggies are best the sooner after harvest they are used.
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To get to the heart, that meaty center of the artichoke that makes those thorns worth fighting through, you need to properly remove the outer leaves.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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Baby artichokes are artichokes that actually grow smaller, they aren't simply small or immature versions of larger artichokes. The "choke" – the hairy layer over the heart – isn't nearly as developed as in larger artichokes and is usually fully edible. This makes preparing baby artichokes much easier, per artichoke anyway than large specimens.
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The easiest and more classic way to cook artichokes is by steaming them. Set cleaned/trimmed artichokes in 1/2-inch of salted water with a squeeze or two of lemon juice in it. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until you can easily pull a leaf from the artichoke. (You can also steam artichokes in a microwave.) Let cool a bit and serve warm with melted butter or let cool a lot and serve with mayonnaise or aioli (find great dips for steamed artichokes).
Find more ways to cook artichokes, as well as fabulous artichoke recipes.
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