When to pick artichoke?

Globe artichokes are considered to be the ‘true’ artichokes, which are available all year round, but at their best between June and November. Jerusalem artichokes are completely unrelated to the former and not truly an artichoke. Instead, they are a variety of sunflower native to North America with a lumpy, brown-skinned tuber that often resembles a ginger root.

How to cook globe artichokes

Artichokes are a simple replacement for a salad, although they take a little longer to prepare.

Steaming method

  • I take the easy, and to my mind tastiest, option of steaming. Unsurprisingly the bigger the artichoke, the longer the steaming time. Anything up to 30 or 40 minutes. The smaller ones normally take around 20 minutes or so. Larger artichokes can be slightly bitter compared to their smaller cousins.
  • You’ll need a good inch or so of water to steam. You can also cool the water down after cooking to make a healthy iced artichoke tea.
  • Before steaming, lop the stalk off. Some people also add garlic and lemon to the water.
  • You can tell when your artichoke is cooked by nimbly taking off a leaf. If it falls off easily, it’s probably cooked. But, to be sure – cool it down and take a bite from the bottom of the leaf i.e. the part nearest the innards of artichoke. It’s a small part, but this is the only part of the leaf that is edible.

Boiling method

  • Remove the tough leaves close to the base of the artichokes.
  • Cut off the stems completely, so the artichokes will sit flat.
  • Cook in plenty of lightly salted, boiling water. It will take 15-30 mins, depending on the size and freshness of the artichoke, so check from 15 mins onwards.
  • The best test of doneness is when a leaf from the middle pulls away easily. Drain well, upside down so the water runs out.

How to eat globe artichokes

You eat it by, how scooping the flesh along the leaf. It has an incredibly soft texture, or it should have if it’s cooked… If not, steam for a bit longer. Some people prefer their artichokes cold, or cool. Either way, you can eat them freshly cooked or the next day. They will keep in the fridge.

The only other thing you’ll need to prepare is a vinaigrette salad dressing. You eat by plucking the leaves and dipping the fleshy part into the dressing. Make sure you have a large plate on the table to dispose of the leaves. You might be surprised just how much larger artichoke debris is in relation to the parts you eat.

Lastly, the most succulent, chunky, edible part is buried deep inside – the artichoke heart. Once you’ve devoured the leaves you’ll find a stack of ‘hair’ hiding the heart below. The hairy choke is inedible so take it out using a teaspoon. You will then be left with the heart and the remains of the stem.

Now you can enjoy the deep, soft and subtle flavour of the fleshiest part of this incredible green. If that’s all a bit too simple for you, try some of the below recipes using this versatile vegetable.

Top 6 artichoke recipes

Artichoke & aubergine rice

This vibrant paella-style dish is packed with flavour, yet low in fat and calories. A perfect budget family midweek meal – this recipe can be batch cooked and frozen, ready to whip out on a busy evening.

Artichoke & aubergine rice

Artichoke hearts with burrata

Creamy burrata and artichoke hearts make a luxurious pairing, finished with a dressing of aromatic saffron, honey and white balsamic vinegar. This elegant dish will go down a storm at a dinner party. These artichoke & chive crostini also make a sophisticated starter.

Sicilian-style artichoke hearts with burrata
Baked artichoke dip

Hollow out a crusty loaf and fill it with a moreishly creamy mixture of artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. This crowd-pleasing dip is sure to disappear fast. For something more refreshing, try this zingy artichoke & lemon dip or serve our chargrilled artichoke baba ganoush as part of a mezze spread – perfect for dipping with flatbreads and falafel.

Baked artichoke dip

Spinach & artichoke filo pie

Serve this impressive vegetarian pie for a dinner party centerpiece. Packed with ricotta, spinach, leeks, sundried tomatoes and canned artichoke hearts – it’s the perfect way to boost your veg intake, whilst also indulging. For more pastry inspiration, check out our artichoke, bacon & cheese tart or rustic artichoke & wild mushroom pie.

Spinach & artichoke filo pie

Watercress & artichoke soup

This vibrant green soup combines canned artichoke hearts with watercress and potato to make a nourishing meal, perfect for a quick lunch or starter.

Watercress & artichoke soup

Artichoke foccacia

Give this popular Italian bread a tasty twist by filling the dough with artichoke antipasti. As the mixture is preserved in oil, it will accentuate the flavour as well as adding a moistness to the bread.

Artichoke focaccia recipe
You can watch our guide on how to prepare a globe artichoke, or discover all of our artichoke recipes.

Learn about the History and Legends of Artichokes and also check out these easy to prepare and so delicious Artichoke Recipes.

Learn how to purchase, cook, and eat fresh artichokes using these simple and very easy instructions. Artichokes might seem a little intimidating if no one has shown you how to prepare and eat them. Did you know that there is an etiquette to eating artichokes? Don’t worry, they are very easy to eat properly. Just follow my easy instructions below.

When fresh artichokes are in season, I could eat them everyday. This simple preparation is my favorite way to serve them. Artichokes are beautiful to look at and also make an impressive starter for your dinner party. Instead of butter for dipping, I use an mayonnaise and mustard dip (see recipe below).

Artichoke Facts:

The artichoke is a perennial vegetable in the thistle group of the sunflower family and is believed to be a native of the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. The “vegetable” that we eat is actually the plant’s flower bud. If allowed to flower, the blossoms measure up to seven inches in diameter and are a beautiful violet-blue color. There are more than 140 artichoke varieties but less than 40 are grown commercially. In full growth, the plant spreads to cover an area about six feet in diameter and reaches a height of three to four feet. Artichokes are available twelve months a year with the peak season in the spring and fall.

Artichoke fields are maintained in perennial culture for five to ten years. Each cropping cycle is initiated by “cutting back” the tops of the plants several inches below the soil surface to stimulate development of new shoots. The operation called “stumping,” is timed to regulate the new harvest season.

Today most artichokes grown worldwide are cultivated in France, Italy, and Spain, while California provides nearly 100 percent of the United States crop. In fact, one hundred percent of all artichokes grown commercially in the United States are grown in California.

Also learn about the History and Legends of Artichokes and also check out Artichoke Recipes.

Purchasing Artichokes:

One medium to large artichoke will yield approximately 2 ounces of edible flesh.

If the artichoke feels heavy for its size and squeaks when squeezed, you have found a fresh artichoke.

Select artichoke globes that are deep green, with a tight leaf formation, and those that feel heavy for their size. A good test of freshness is to press the leaves against each other which should produce a squeaking sound. Browning of the tips can indicate age, but can also indicate frost damage.

Frost-kissed Artichokes: Fall and winter artichokes may be darker or bronze-tipped or have a whitish, blistered appearance due to exposure to light frost. This is called “winter-kissed.” These frost-kissed artichokes are considered to be the most tender with intense flavor. Look for tender green on the inside of petals. Frost-kissed artichokes are available sporadically, when temperatures in the growing regions dip below 32 degrees. If your are a “choke” lover, you will want to snatch these babies up whenever you see them. To tell the difference between an artichoke that has been frost-kissed and one that has been just plain abused, try to peel the brownish flakes with your fingernail. If the flakes peel off, it a frost-kissed artichoke. Avoid artichokes which are wilting, drying or have mold.

Storing Artichokes: To store fresh artichokes at home, sprinkle them with a little water and refrigerate in an airtight plastic bag. Do no wash before storing. They should last a week when stored properly.

How To Prepare Artichokes:

Wash artichokes under cold, running water. Pull off lower petals and cut off bottom stems (cut flush with the base). Cut off about 1/2 inch of the pointed top of the artichoke. Trim tips of leaves with scissors to remove thorns. Dip in lemon juice to preserve color.

TIP: Always use a stainless-steel knife and a stainless-steel or glass pot. Iron or aluminum will turn artichokes an unappetizing blue or black. For the same reason, never let aluminum foil come in contact with artichokes.

Wash under cold, running water. Pull off lower petals and cut off stem.

Cut off about 1/2 inch of the pointed top of the artichoke. Trim tips of leaves with scissors to remove thorns. Dip in lemon juice to preserve color.

How To Cook Artichokes:

Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is – the larger the artichoke, the longer it takes to cook.

Boiling Method: Stand up the prepared artichoke in a deep saucepan or pot with 3-inches boiling water (if desired, oil, lemon juice and/or seasonings can be added to cooking water). Cover with a lid and gently boil approximately 25 to 40 minutes, depending on size of the artichokes, or until a petal near the center pulls out easily. When done cooking, remove from the pot and stand artichoke upside down on a rack to drain.

Steaming Method: Place prepared artichoke on a rack above 1- to 2-inches of boiling water. Cover and steam approximately 25 to 45 minutes, depending on size, or until a petal near the center pulls out easily.

How To Prepare Artichoke Hearts:

Into a large bowl, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into 1 quart of the water. As you prepare and cut your artichokes, dip them into the lemon/water to prevent discoloring (oxidizing).

Using a sharp knife, cut the stems off of the artichokes even with the bottoms.

Pull off and discard all leaves.

Using a small pairing knife, trim the remaining dark green surfaces at the base of the artichoke, including the stalk.

The choke (hairy fibers in the center of the artichoke) need to be removed. Using a melon baller or a spoon; remove and discard the choke.

Trim the bottoms and put the trimmed artichoke hearts in the lemon water.

Baby Artichokes – How To Prepare Baby Artichokes:

Baby artichokes are not a separate variety but merely smaller versions of larger artichokes. Their size comes from their location on the artichoke plant. They are picked from the lower parts of the artichoke plant where the plant fronds protect them from sun, in effect stunting their growth.

Small artichokes, which are being shipped fresh more frequently today, make a savory appetizer, salad or vegetable accompaniment when marinated, either whole or cut lengthwise in halves. They are also delicious in poultry, beef, pork or lamb stews.

Baby artichokes are sold in plastic bags or loose. Their size can vary from walnut to jumbo egg size. Size is no indication of age. (Some babies are bigger than other babies!) Choose baby artichokes that are firm and heavy for their size. Most have no fuzzy choke.

Bend back lower, outer petals of artichokes until they snap off easily near base. Continue doing this until you reach a point where the leaves are half green (at the top) and half yellow (at the bottom).

Using a sharp stainless steel knife, cut off top third of artichokes or just below the green tips of the petals. Pare all remaining dark green areas from bases. Cut off stems.

Halve or quarter as desired. If center petals are purple or pink remove center petals and fuzzy centers. Dip or rub all surfaces with lemon juice.

Cook as directed in recipes.

How To Make Artichoke Cups for Stuffing:

Some recipes call for the choke to be removed to make a “cup” for stuffing. It is easier to do this after the whole artichoke has been cooked.

Prepare the vegetable as for serving whole. Boil, steam, or microwave, then let stand until cool enough to handle.

Spread the outer leaves apart, pull out the petals covering the choke, and use a teaspoon to scrape out the choke. The artichoke cup can be stuffed and then either served as is or baked with the stuffing.

Etiquette of Eating Whole Artichokes – How To Eat Artichokes:

Did you know that there is an etiquette to eating artichokes? Don’t worry, they are very easy to eat properly. Just follow my easy instructions below:

It is both proper and polite to pluck the leaves with your fingers, leaving fork and knife aside.

Pull off a leaf (holding it by the pointed end). Put the other end in your mouth and pull it between your teeth, scraping the length of the leaf (the edible portion of the leaves becomes greater as you get closer to the center of the artichoke).

Just before you get to the very center, leaves will become almost white with purple tips. Be careful of these leaves because their purple ends are prickly.

When the leaves are pulled, you will be left with the base (the heart crowned with a fuzzy patch). You have now reached the best part of all, the very reason for eating artichokes – the heart.

Carefully scoop away the fuzzy stuff with your knife or spoon (though a properly prepared artichoke will already have the choke removed). With knife and fork, cut bites from the heart like pieces of prime beef fillet.

If you’re provided with a dip such as a vinaigrette or mayonnaise, put a small part of the edible portion of the leaf in the dip and scrape with your teeth as directed above. Do not overdo it on the dip or you will not taste the artichoke.

Learn how to cook artichokes using two simple methods, boiling and steaming. Master the preparation technique for trimming the prickly leaves to make the plant meat easier to eat. I’ll also show you how to remove the inedible choke to enjoy the delicious artichoke heart in the center.

Artichokes are beautifully colored olive green and sometimes purple globes that always stand out amongst the other vegetables at the market. They may look intimidating, but they’re actually really easy to cook.

Using simple cooking methods like boiling and steaming softens the protective outer leaves and the artichoke heart. It’s a delicious appetizer to share as it requires a hands-on experience to eat.

This veggie is a perennial thistle that’s a member of the sunflower family. It’s also loaded with nutritional benefits such as fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, calcium, iron, and potassium. Other methods like roasting and pressure cooking can also be used, but require a little different preparation.

How to prepare an artichoke

To cook a whole artichoke the first thing to do is cut and trim the outer leaves. The tips can feel prickly like thorns, so you want to cut a few rows from the top first to expose the inside of the vegetable. Depending on the size, that’s about a ½ to 1 inch.

Use kitchen shears to trim off the very tips of each leaf. All of the edible meat is at the bottom of the leaves attached to the base, so you’re not losing any as you trim. Cut the stem off of the bottom so it can sit upright for serving. However, the stem is edible if the fibrous outer layer is peeled off.

Boiled Artichokes

  • Prepare the artichoke and then bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add to the water, reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
  • Test for doneness by carefully transferring the boiled artichoke to a plate then tugging on one of the large outer leaves. If it’s easy to pull off the base, it’s ready. Otherwise if needed, add back to the water and continue cooking until it’s tender.
  • Cook time is between 20 to 35 minutes depending on the size.
  • Drain and cool slightly before serving.

Steamed Artichokes

  • Fill a pot with enough water so that it doesn’t go above the steamer basket.
  • Place the steamer basket in the pot and then the trimmed artichoke.
  • Cover the pot and steam over medium-high heat.
  • Once the steam builds up in the pot, cook until the outer leaves are easy to pull away from the base.
  • Remove the artichoke with tongs with the heat turned off. The steam is very hot so be careful when removing the cover.
  • This method takes 20 to 35 minutes depending on the size.
  • Allow the artichoke to cook slightly before serving.

How do you remove the artichoke heart?

After all of the leaves have been eaten and removed, you’ll find a meaty heart in the core. Just remove the inedible fuzzy, bristle-like piece on top. The heart will be tender from the selected cooking method, so it’s easy to cut in half and eat right away. You can also use it in a variety of ways such as coating it with breading for a crunchy surface or add it to salads, pasta, or pizzas.

What sauce do you serve with artichokes?

Artichokes can be eaten plain, or simply seasoned with salt and pepper. To kick up the flavor, serve it with a sauce like hollandaise, melted or browned butter, garlic mayonnaise or pesto sauce. It’s fun to dip each leaf in the sauce, and then scrape the meat away using your teeth. Cut up the heart enjoy with the toppings!

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If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #jessicagavin on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

How do you stop the artichokes from turning brown after cutting?

Place the cut artichoke in lemon water so that the exposed trimmed leaves won’t brown. That exposed flesh oxidizes quickly when exposed to air. A dip in acidulated water can help prevent enzymatic browning of the vegetable by lowering the pH of the liquid environment and reducing enzyme activity.

5 from 7 votes

How to Cook Artichokes

Learn how to cook artichokes perfectly every time using the boiling and steaming methods to create a delicious shareable appetizer or snack. Prep Time15 mins Cook Time30 mins Total Time45 mins Course: Appetizer Cuisine: American Servings: 2 servings Calories: 38kcal Author: Jessica Gavin


Lemon Water for Preparing Artichoke

  • 1 quart water, (4 cups, 1L)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, (30ml)

Boiled Artichoke

  • 2 1/2 quarts water, (8 cups, 2.4L)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, (6g)
  • 1 large artichoke, (about 1 pound, 454g) or two small

Steamed Artichoke

  • water, enough for steaming
  • 1 large artichoke, (about 1 pound, 454g) or two small


Preparing Artichoke (Boiling and Steaming)

  • Hold the base of the artichoke and use kitchen shears to trim the ends of the leaves to remove the sharp thorns. The top two rows of leaves do not need to be trimmed.
  • Hold the artichoke firmly at the base and use a large chef’s knife to cut the top two rows of the leaf tips.
  • Cut the stem off flush with the base of the artichoke bulb.
  • Add to a medium bowl with 1 quart of water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
  • Submerge and let it sit in the acidulated water until ready to cook. This helps to prevent the leaves and stem from browning.
  • Remove artichoke from lemon water.
  • Bring water and salt to a boil. There should be enough water to cover the artichoke.
  • Add artichoke to the water, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the leaves can be easily pulled off, about 20 to 35 minutes depending on the size.
  • Drain and cool before eating.
  • Remove artichoke from lemon water, shaking off the excess moisture.
  • Fill the bottom of a large pot with about 2-inches of water, so that it is below the steamer basket when inserted.
  • Add in the steamer basket and then the artichokes. Cover the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high.
  • Once the steam is built up in the pot, start the cooking time.
  • Cook until the leaves can be easily pulled away from the bulb, about 20 to 35 minutes, depending on the size.

Nutrition Facts How to Cook Artichokes Amount Per Serving Calories 38 % Daily Value* Sodium 76mg3% Potassium 299mg9% Carbohydrates 8g3% Fiber 4g16% Protein 2g4% Vitamin C 9.5mg12% Calcium 36mg4% Iron 1mg6% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Picking An Artichoke – When And How To Harvest Artichokes

Artichokes (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus), considered a delightful treat by many, are perennial edible plants that are similar in appearance to thistles. They can grow up to 5 feet tall and bear flower buds that look like a dark green pinecone, almost 4 inches in diameter. A leathery bract surrounds a purple-blue flower.

Most of the nation’s artichokes are grown in the coastal California region because conditions are most favorable. Artichokes like frost-free winters and cool, foggy summers the best. When and how to harvest artichokes in the home garden depends on the type you are growing.

Types of Artichokes

There are two main types of artichokes — those that are round are known as “Globe” and those that are long and tapered are known as “Violetta.” The flowering bud of these artichokes is the part

that is harvested.

The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), a strong growing perennial, is referred to as a sunchoke and is a member of the sunflower family. The edible portion of this crop is underground in the form of a tuber.

When and How to Harvest Artichokes

Artichoke harvest starts in late July or early August and continues well until frost. Buds are generally harvested once they reach full size, just before the bracts begin to spread open.

Harvesting artichokes requires that you cut off the bud along with 3 inches of stem. Harvesting Jerusalem artichoke tubers is not done until after frost when tubers are dug up from the ground.

After harvest, continue to water and feed the plants. After several frosts, cut back the artichoke plant and mulch heavily.

How Do I Know When to Pick Artichokes?

You’ve probably asked yourself, how do I know when to pick artichokes even when the timing seems right? If you’re concerned about how to tell when an artichoke is ripe, watch plants very carefully. Once flower buds begin to form, it’s vital to provide the right conditions for the plant so that it doesn’t become stressed.

If you miss the ideal artichoke harvest for Globe and Violetta types and buds are not harvested, they will form a purple flower that can be cut for fresh or dried arrangements.

Artichoke Harvest Concerns

Although artichokes aren’t difficult plants to maintain, they won’t flower if they don’t receive an adequate number of chilling days. It’s best to plant early to ensure proper growth.

In Italy, there is not just one globe artichoke variety or even two; there are many. Of course, there are many: there’s a variety for every region and a season that extends from early spring to early summer. Here, as in France and Greece, artichokes are often eaten young, tender and raw, sliced into salads. Or when they are the size of a walnut, they are briefly fried in olive oil. Then a little water goes in and they cook until just tender. These can be marinated, used in pasta sauces or enjoyed whole.

When artichokes are picked young, the stems are not hard or pithy and it’s possible to snap rather than cut them off the plant. Even the stems can be eaten by peeling off the stringy outsides and eating the soft, crisp insides with salt, like you might celery. It’s bitter and nutty. You’ll love it or think I’m mad.

I hear a lot from people with rotting clumps. These are getting too wet over the winter and rotting off; they may also be too shaded. My plants are grown on heavy clay, but in full sun. On wetter ground they need to be sheltered from the worst of the winter weather and on a slightly raised bed to aid drainage. I mulch them now to give them a boost of nutrients, lock in moisture and keep weeds down.

Sow globe artichoke seeds now indoors, hardening off in May to plant out in June. If you are in the south or somewhere warm sow outside in April, but these plants won’t flower till next year. Or buy young plants from garden centres, which can go out from mid-May onwards. Rare, heritage varieties tend to be easiest to source as seed; ‘Romanesco’ and ‘Violetta di Chioggia’ from Chiltern Seeds are two fine purple-headed varieties. Artichokes need moisture over the summer. If the roots are deep, they will often find their own, but young plants will need watering in.

Artichokes do best in deep, rich fertile soil that is well-drained in a sunny position. A healthy plant will have a root system 90-120cm deep. Perennial crops are grown for five to 10 years, though they can last much longer. Commercially the plants are divided every four to five years to keep up vigour.

Some growers do something called stumping to their crops: cutting back hard to force the plant to produce a new flush of offshoots. If done towards the end of August and provided you can keep the plants frost-free (either covering with fleece or low cloches) over the winter, you’ll get a much earlier crop the following year. It’s also a great method to get new offshoots from an old plant without having to divide the whole thing.

Once the offshoots are 20cm tall, slice them off with a sharp spade, making sure that you get a chunk of root. Replant 10-15cm deep in good fertile soil. Be prepared to cover them in winter.

Photo: Penny Woodward

You need a bit of space to grow globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) but are amply rewarded when you harvest the flavoursome flower buds to cook and eat. And now’s artichoke time: they are best planted in winter in frost-free regions but but can still go in now everywhere, except the topics where you can’t grow them. Purchase plants of a reasonable size to get a head start.

Artichokes are pretty much pest and disease free in regions with hot dry summers and cold wet winters, but are subject to crown rot in regions of high humidity. This can be combated by growing them in raised, very well-drained beds, and only watering at ground level, but in really humid regions they won’t survive.

Artichokes stay in the same position for several years so soil preparation is important. They do best in a sunny position in good sandy soil, enriched with compost and well-rotted manure. The soil needs to be slightly alkaline so add some dolomite before planting and some potash to ensure prolific flowering. Make sure they have plenty of space, as they reach a height of 1.2–2m and can be 1.5m across. Protect young plants from frost during winter by loosely covering with straw or bracken, pull this away once the weather warms up. Water well when young and mulch with straw or hay.

The peak harvest time is spring, but harvesting will continue sporadically through summer and then there may be another flush of flowers in autumn. Always pick flower buds before they begin to open, with a few centimeters of stem attached. I love the very young tender buds (as shown in the picture) so I begin harvesting quite early. These buds are more tender and don’t need to have the ‘choke’ removed.

As well as the deliciously edible flower buds, the arching soft grey green leaves and huge vibrant purple thistle flowers of artichokes make a dramatic statement and add structure and contrast foliage in the garden. The flowers are also a magnet for beneficial insects and nectar-loving birds, and plants make a good, low windbreak if grown along a fence line.

By: Penny Woodward

First published: October 2017

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Learn how to trim and steam artichokes with easy to follow step-by-step photos.

With the arrival of spring brings artichoke season. Even though it’s still snowing in some parts, pretty soon we’ll all be craving succulent steamed artichokes with tangy dipping sauces.

Up until recently, the idea of trimming an artichoke for steaming really intimidated me. I faced my fear and finally learned how to do it. And you know what, it’s not so bad once you get the first one out of the way.

Assuming I’m not the only one who’s felt that way, I thought it would be helpful to show you step-by-step photos on how to trim an artichoke.

Step 1: Rinse the artichoke under cold water and peel off any leaves that are on the stem.

Step 2: Work your way around the entire artichoke and trim the tops of the leaves to get rid of the pointy tips. I stop when the leaves become difficult to separate.

Step 3: Cut off the bottom of the stem, leaving only about 1 to 1.5-inches of stem.

Step 4: Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the outer layer of the stem.

Step 5: Artichokes brown very quickly once peeled and exposed to air. To slow down the browning, have half a lemon handy to rub onto the exposed surface. As soon as you complete step 4, rub the lemon all over the exposed stem.

Step 6: Cut off the top 0.5 to 1-inch of the artichoke to finish trimming any leaves that weren’t trimmed in step 2.

Step 7: At this point, the top of the artichoke is now exposed, so grab that half lemon and rub it on.

Step 8: Cut the artichoke in half, from stem to top.

Step 9: Now the entire inside of the artichoke is exposed. Rub that lemon on!

Step 10: Finally, scoop out the fuzzy choke from the center.

Step 11: I find that when I remove the choke, some of the fuzziness gets onto other parts of the artichoke. I like to run the entire artichoke under cold running water to give it a final rinse before steaming it.

Step 12: To steam the artichoke, place the artichoke cut side down in a steamer basket placed over simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t come in contact with the bottom of the basket. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes, until a paring knife easily pierces the stem.

Tips for Success

  • To limit the amount of time the cut artichoke is exposed to air, heat the water and prepare the steamer basket before you begin trimming the artichoke. That way, as soon as you’re done trimming the artichoke, they can be steamed right away.
  • Depending on the size of your artichokes and the size of your steamer basket, the amount of artichokes you can steam at a time may vary. My steamer basket was small and my artichokes were large, so I was only able to steam 1 artichoke (2 halves) at a time.
  • To avoid browning, I worked in batches and didn’t begin trimming the next artichoke until the first batch was already steamed.
  • Once steamed, the artichokes are ready to be served. Or, if you’d like to produce the artichokes like the ones in the first picture, put them cut side down on a hot grill pan or grill, just until grill marks are produced, about 3 to 5 minutes.

How to Trim an Artichoke for Steaming Prep Time 7 mins Cook Time 12 mins Total Time 19 mins Course: Main Course Cuisine: American Serving Size: 1 whole artichoke globe Calories per Serving: 81 kcal Author: Patty K-P Ingredients

  • 8 artichokes
  • 1 large lemon, halved


  1. Fit a large pot with a steamer basket
  2. and fill with water until about 1-inch below the steamer basket. Cover and heat the water on high. Allow the water to come to a boil while preparing the artichokes.
  3. Rinse the artichoke under cold water and peel off any leaves that are on the stem.
  4. Work your way around the entire artichoke and trim the tops of the leaves to get rid of the pointy tips. Stop when the leaves become difficult to separate.
  5. Cut off the bottom of the stem, leaving only about 1 to 1.5 inches of stem.
  6. Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the outer layer of the stem. Rub the lemon all over the exposed stem.
  7. Cut off the top 0.5 to 1 inch of the artichoke, trimming any leaves weren’t trimmed earlier.
  8. Cut the artichoke in half, from stem to top. Rub the newly cut area with lemon.
  9. Scoop out the fuzzy choke from the center. Run the entire artichoke under cold running water to get rid of any fuzzy choke that my have migrated. Rub the newly exposed area with lemon.
  10. By now the water should be boiling. Reduce the heat to low and bring the water to a simmer.
  11. Place the artichoke cut side down in a steamer basket.

  12. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes, until a paring knife easily pierces the stem.

Recipe Notes

Depending on the size of your artichokes and the size of your steamer basket, the amount of artichokes you can steam at a time may vary. To avoid browning, work in batches and don’t begin trimming the next artichoke until the first batch has already been steamed.

I conquered my fear of trimming artichokes by following this tutorial by Tori Avey.

Note: This page contains affiliate links that help make The PKP Way possible. Should you choose to purchase anything via those links, I will receive a small commission paid by Amazon, not you.

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There are some vegetables that just don’t get the love they deserve. You see them in the store and think, “What do I do with that?” and keep walking. One veggie that often gets that response is the artichoke. It just looks … complicated. With all those tough leaves layered like hard shell, artichokes look more like hand grenades than food. But if you give edible flowers a chance, you’ll see that they aren’t hard to work with at all. They just need a little love, a little attention and they will reward you with a delicious dish that will leave you wondering why it took you so long to get on the artichoke train. Here are some tips on how to choose, prepare, and cook with the seasonal spring beauty that is the artichoke.

1. Selection and Storage

Artichokes come into season in March and stay through June. When choosing artichokes, pick them up and get a feel for the weight. Select ones that feel solid and heavy; they get lighter as they get older. The leaves should be thick, tightly closed, and a deep green color. When you rub the leaves, they should squeak. Older artichokes have opened, dry, or cracked leaves.


Does size matter? That depends on which part of the artichoke you care most about. If you love the leaves, small artichokes are more tender and sweeter. If the heart is your favorite part, larger artichokes have larger hearts. There are also baby artichokes which are not only adorable, but sweet, tender, and easier to prep.

Store the artichokes in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to a week.

2. Prepping

Prepping the artichokes isn’t hard, but it is a bit time-consuming. You will need both a sharp knife and kitchen shears. First, you want to rinse the artichokes in cool water to get out any grit hidden in the leaves. The best way is to fill a bowl (or the sink) with cool water and add a bit of lemon juice to it. Add the artichokes to the water and let them swim for a bit. Then, dry them well before continuing your prep work.

Next, work on the stems. Artichokes have thick stems. If you want to keep them, just trim them and peel off the hard exterior. Most of the time, however, people use a sharp knife to cut the stems off so the artichokes can stand up.


Now cut about 1 inch off the top of the artichokes. Pull off any dry, tough leaves around the stem area. Using your shears, trim about a 1/4 inch off the thorny leaf tips. Now, the artichokes are ready to stuff and/or cook. Submerge the artichokes in lemon water while you prepare the rest of them, and until you’re ready to cook. This will prevent the leaves from browning. Once you have your artichokes ready, you can get creative, like with this Pesto Papparadelle With Artichoke Chickpea Meatballs.

3. The Heart of the Matter

If you want to get to the hearts of the artichoke, there’s a little more work to do. The choke is a bundle of white and purple leaves and below those leaves lies a bed of hairy-looking filaments. You need to completely remove this choke, or it will make you choke … literally. You can remove the choke either before or after steaming the artichokes.


To remove the choke, you first need to remove the inner sharp leaves in the center of the artichoke. Then use a spoon, paring knife, or melon baller to scrape out the fuzzy choke in the center. Once that is done, you will have reached the artichoke heart. Now you know why a can or jar of artichoke hearts is usually so expensive. You can use artichoke hearts to make this yummy Ramp and Brazil Nut Pesto with Artichokes on Socca.

4. TLC

Artichokes are pretty tough, so they need to be boiled or steamed to make them tender before using them in recipes. You can also do this before getting the hearts out to make it a bit easier. To boil them, add the artichokes to a large pot of boiling salted water or broth. Reduce the heat and let them simmer, covered, for half an hour, or until you can easily pull a leaf out from the center or a knife goes into the center easily. If you want, you can also flavor the liquid the artichokes will cook in.


To steam them, set up a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and place the artichokes in it. Reduce the heat to simmering, cover the pot, and steam them for half an hour or more until you can easily pull a leaf out from the center or a knife goes into the center easily.

Once the artichokes are tender, they can be used in other recipes or eaten as is. How do you eat an artichoke, you ask? Just pull off a leaf and scrape the “meat” with your teeth. Most people enjoy dipping the leaves first in a dipping sauce such as melted vegan butter or a roasted garlic aioli. Try your artichoke hearts in this Fried Artichokes Over Lemon Butter Pasta. Yum!

5. Braised

Braising is a great cooking method if you want to keep the artichokes whole (or halved) and make them flavorful and delicious. Since the artichokes will cook in a flavored liquid, you don’t have to steam or boil them first, though you can if you want them even more tender. Read Learn How to Braise Your Food for Maximum Flavor to get all the tips on braising.

Add your favorite aromatics into the pot such as onion, celery, carrots and garlic sauteed in a bit of olive oil. Season them with your favorite herbs and spices. Use water, broth or white wine for the cooking liquid. Cover the pot and let simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. The artichokes will be sweet and nutty, with the deep flavors from the aromatics they were cooked in. In this Carciofi alla Romana (Roman-Style Artichokes), the artichokes are cooked in broth flavored with lemon, garlic, herbs, and spices. After the artichokes are tender, the cooking liquid is reduced into a delicious sauce that gets poured over the artichokes.

6. Grilled

Once the weather gets warmer and you dust off the grill, think of artichokes for outdoor cooking. Grilling artichokes gives them a smoky flavor that’s irresistible. Of course, you can also grill them indoors using a grill pan. Check out How to Grill Tasty Veggies Indoors and Outdoors for awesome grilling tips.

The best way to grill artichokes is to slice steamed artichokes in half lengthwise and remove the choke. Brush the inside halves with olive oil and sprinkle salt and any other seasoning you like on them. Place them cut side down on the grill. It only takes about five minutes or so for them to brown. Turn and cook the other side until the artichokes are tender with a slight char. Use your grilled artichokes to make these Grilled Artichoke and Quinoa Lettuce Wraps.


7. Stuffed

Growing up, it was a real treat when my mother would make stuffed artichokes. This was the only way I would eat them although if I’m being completely honest, I only ate the stuffing and avoided the artichoke. What do kids know? Today, I enjoy the whole thing. Just like bell peppers and other veggies, artichokes can be stuffed with whatever you like – vegan sausage, grains, nuts, and fruit – get more ideas in 25 Stuffed Veggie Dishes You Can Feel Good About Stuffing Yourself With.

To make stuffing easier, I use a trick: place each artichoke and place it top-side down on a cutting board. With your palm, press down gently on the base of the artichoke and the leaves will gape open for stuffing. Use a small spoon to fill the leaves with your stuffing. Be generous and let it overflow. My Overstuffed Artichokes have a vegan version of the classic stuffing. In this recipe, I sauté seasoned bread crumbs with garlic in olive oil and add vegan grated parmesan and fresh, chopped parsley.

For that great stuffed artichoke taste without the hassle that comes with preparing them, try this ‘Stuffed’ Artichoke Soup in the Slow Cooker.

8. Baby Artichokes

As mentioned, baby artichokes are cute, sweet, tender, and easier to prep than the full-size ones. Baby artichokes also cook faster since they are so small. This Artichoke Paella uses a bunch of baby artichokes that cook with the rice along with capers, olives, lots of Spanish flavors, and saffron. In this Seasonal Quinoa Pilaf with Ramps, Artichokes, and Peas, halved baby artichokes are sautéed to become part of this delicious seasonal spring dish.

9. Artichoke Hearts

While many people may avoid cooking with artichokes, artichoke hearts seem to be loved by almost everyone. No surprise – the hearts are tender, nutty, and creamy. You can get to the hearts as described above or you can buy artichoke hearts in cans, jars or frozen. That way all the work has been done for you. Artichoke hearts are really versatile – the ideas for what to do with them never run out!

Add them to pasta dishes like this Pasta with Lentils and Artichoke Hearts and Artichoke and Shiitake Pasta with Butternut Tomato Sauce. One of my favorite ways to eat them is to fry them and put the hearts on top of my pasta as in this Fried Artichokes over Lemon Butter Pasta. Of course, you can enjoy fried artichokes with a dip, like these Walnut-Crusted Artichokes and these Beer-Battered Artichoke Hearts.

Artichoke hearts are perfect pizza toppings. Try this Artichoke and Olive Pizza and this Kale and Artichoke Pizza. When artichoke hearts are sautéed, they become creamy and spreadable, delicious on toasted bread for bruschetta. Or, toss them in a salad with Kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes for a Mediterranean treat.

One of my favorite soups is a roasted artichoke bisque. It’s smooth, creamy, and so rich. This “Stuffed” Artichoke Soup in the Slow Cooker uses artichoke hearts and all the flavors you expect in stuffed artichokes to make a delicious soup. Adding artichoke hearts to pesto gives it a tangy flavor, as in this Cheesy Polenta with Creamy Artichoke Pesto and this Pistachio Artichoke Pesto Quinoa.

Artichoke hearts can also be used in burgers and meatballs. Try this Pesto Pappardelle with Artichoke Chickpea Meatballs, Artichoke Sunflower Burgers, and Artichoke Chickpea Patties With Cashew Thyme Cream.

10. Spinach and Artichoke

Spinach and artichoke are perfect together, like the savory version of peanut butter and jelly. Of course, the most classic use of this combination is to make the incredible dip that is a must at any party. Try this Hot and Bubbly Spinach and Artichoke Dip and Healthy Artichoke Dip. Get creative and swap out the spinach with a different green like this Cheesy Baked Kale Artichoke Dip, or use cauliflower and fire it up with this Buffalo Artichoke Dip.

Spinach and artichoke do more than just make great dips. Combine them to make this Spinach and Artichoke Soufflé, Artichoke and Spinach Risotto with Lemon Cashew Cream, and my Spinach, Artichoke, and Mozzarella Tofu Frittata.

Artichokes may look a little intimidating, but once you try cooking with them, you’ll see that they are well worth the effort. From the outer leaves to the sweet, tender hearts, make sure that artichokes are on your seasonal spring produce list.

Lead image source: Pasta with Lentils and Artichoke Hearts


Artichokes: How to choose

Artichokes are available pretty much all year round these days, but there are two separate peaks for production, and we’re in the middle of the first one right now. That’s because all four of the primary varieties are being harvested.

For years, the only artichokes grown commercially were the big Green Globes that are planted around Castroville, Calif., just north of Monterey. Within the last five or so years, other varieties have been successfully planted in areas as varied as Lompoc and the Imperial Valley.

These new varieties — Desert Globe, Big Heart and Imperial Star are the main ones — look very much like the classic Globes, but they differ in one significant respect. These are annual plants grown from seed, whereas Globes are perennials that are grown from root stock.

That may seem trivial, but to artichoke growers it’s key because planting from seed allows much more flexibility. They can grow artichokes as part of a mix of row crops without having to commit land for a full 10-year run.

Choosing: Pick the freshest artichokes by squeezing the “leaves” (actually, they’re bracts, like the “flowers” on bougainvillea). Really fresh artichokes will squeak when squeezed.

It takes a strong constitution to walk past those cute little baby artichokes without picking them up. Don’t resist: They are one of the handiest vegetables around. The flavor is the same as that of the big artichokes, but the thorny bracts are more tender, and because they are so small, there is very little bristly choke in the center.

Like most other baby vegetables, artichokes aren’t really immature, but unlike most others, they don’t come from a specialized miniature variety. Instead, baby artichokes come from the same plants that throw up the big hubcap-sized ones that are so good for steaming.

Every artichoke plant produces a range of sizes — one or two giants, a half-dozen or so mediums and a dozen or so babies. Because most people still eat artichokes only one way — steamed and dipped in butter — these smaller sizes often go neglected and are terrific bargains.

Trim them just the way you do the big guys, but leave the stems attached — they have the same tender texture and great flavor as the heart.

itayuri/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you buy full-size globe or baby artichokes, look for ones with fleshy leaves, plump with moisture and a deep, green color. If your artichoke recipe calls for artichoke hearts only, plan on eating the leaves at one meal and saving the hearts for another — the leaves have the same earthy, artichoke flavor as the heart.

Selecting a Fresh Artichoke

Look for artichokes with plum, firm stems and tight leaves; the inner circle of leaves should form a small, tight hole in the center of the vegetable. Hold the artichoke in the palm of your hand and feel its heft — a heavy artichoke for its size means it’s moist and fresh. When artichokes are fresh, the leaves make a squeaking noise when squeezed together.

What Bad Artichokes Look Like

If an artichoke’s leaf tips are split, shriveled and dry looking, or discolored with dark brown edges, the artichoke is past its prime and won’t be good to eat. If the leaf tips are still intact but look discolored, the artichoke may have suffered frost damage, but its quality is still good overall. An artichoke with loose leaves and a large, gaping hole at the center of the leaves is not fresh and not worth buying.

Storing Artichokes

The sooner you cook artichokes after bringing them home, the better they will taste. Unwashed artichokes stay fresh for about three to four days when you store them loose in a refrigerator vegetable drawer. Placed in an airtight container, they’ll still be good up to one week.

Cooking Artichokes

Cut off the stem and the top half-inch of the artichoke to begin prep work. Pinch off the small, outer leaves and any old-looking leaves around the edges. Then, cut off the prickly tips of the remaining leaves with scissors and wash the artichoke under running water. Place the artichoke upside-down in a steamer basket set in a large pot with simmering water. Cook it for about 45 minutes or until you can slip a sharp knife tip easily into the bottom.

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