Preparing Whole Artichokes: A Primer

Preparing Whole Artichokes:  A Primer

Preparing whole artichokes may seem intimidating.  But, it’s actually really simple.  This primer will teach you everything you need to know — including three different ways of cooking them quickly and easily.

Artichokes | cookglobaleatlocal.comIf you’re drawn to beautiful displays of fresh artichokes at your local market, but afraid to prepare them at home, you’re not alone.  I’ve loved artichokes ever since I was a little girl.  Nonetheless, the prep seemed daunting. How should one tackle these pretty, prickly flowers?

The good news is it’s much easier than I thought!  The prep takes under 10 minutes and — depending on the size — the artichokes themselves cook quickly as well.  So, I hope this easy primer will have you up and running, and enjoying the pleasures of home-cooked artichokes in no time at all!

What Are Artichokes?

If you’ve never tried one, you may well be wondering what exactly an artichoke is, and where on earth it comes from.  Artichokes are, believe it or not, the flowers of a thistle plant.  They are native to the Mediterranean, where they’ve been cultivated and eaten since ancient times.

Recent research suggests artichokes may be helpful for people suffering with high cholesterol.  Though this research is still in its early stages, artichokes are richly nutritious and low in calories.  So, in addition to tasting good, they’re a wonderful addition to a healthy diet.

Preparing Whole Artichokes: A Primer |

Prepping Whole Artichokes for Cooking

Regardless of whether you’ve found gorgeous globe artichokes or dainty baby artichokes, the prep is the same.  This step-by-step photographic guide will take you through it, and your artichokes will be ready to cook in mere minutes!

  1. Start by rinsing your artichokes lightly under running water, draining them, and patting them dry.
  2. Then, use a serrated knife to remove about 1.5 cm from the tops, as shown in the photo below.

    Artichoke Prep |
    Cut about 1.5 cm off the top of the artichoke to remove the spines.
  3. Then, remove any small leaves around the base, and use the same serrated knife to cut about .5 cm off the bottom of the artichokes so that they will sit flat in your cooking vessel, as shown below.

    Artichoke Prep |
    Cut the stem and about .5 com off the bottom of the artichoke with a serrated knife.
  4. Finally, turn the artichoke in your hand, using kitchen scissors to trim the spiny tops off the leaves, as shown in the photo below.Artichoke Prep |

Now, you’re ready to cook!  It’s just that simple.  Unless you’re preparing artichoke hearts, or cooking much later, there’s really no need to worry about acidulated water.

However, if you plan to cook your artichokes later in the day, you will want to immerse them in water containing plenty of fresh lemon juice.  The lemon juice will prevent the artichokes from oxidising and changing colour prior to cooking.

Sauces to Enjoy with Cooked Artichokes

Vegan Garlic Lemon Aioli Artichokes with Vegan Garlic Lemon Aioli |


Finally, I hope this primer and recipe will help you and your family enjoy artichokes every bit as much as we do.  Bon appétit!




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