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How to Cook Artichokes in 2 Simple Ways

Even though artichokes are incredibly delicious and shockingly easy to cook, most people are hesitant to try them out, all because they look a little strange. 

I felt a little intimidated by their spiky thorns and hard exterior too when I first bought them, but once I learned how to prepare them the right way, I realized they’re actually not that difficult to handle.

If you’re interested in giving artichokes a go, I’ve prepared the perfect little guide that’ll take you through all there’s to know about preparing artichokes to perfection.

How to Cook Artichokes

The first thing you need to know when you’re learning how to make artichokes is that you need to trim the ends of the outer leaves as they can feel quite prickly.

The tips are actually quite sharp which is why it’s advisable to use a kitchen towel when you’re handling them.

What you want to do is use kitchen shears to cut about half an inch to an inch from the top few rows of leaves until you can start to see the beauty inside of the vegetable.

The edible part is at the bottom of the leaves that are attached to the base of the vegetable, so you must keep your kitchen shears safely away from that region to avoid losing any meat.

Steaming

One of the easiest and most traditional ways you can learn how to prepare artichokes is by steaming them.

What You Need

  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Bay leaf
  • Artichokes

Instructions

  1. Once the edges of the protective outer layer of the artichoke have been safely trimmed, use a serrated bread knife to cut about a ¾ inch off the top of the vegetable.
  2. Leave the stem on the artichoke as desired, but make sure you’ve peeled off the tough, fibrous layer with a vegetable peeler.
  3. Thoroughly rinse the artichokes under cold running water. Don’t forget to open up the leaves so that any dirt that’s hiding beneath them gets washed off as well.
  4. Pour some water in a large pot, and then add garlic, a bay leaf, and a slice of lemon to it. This is supposed to infuse the artichokes with an aromatic flavor.
  5. Carefully insert a steaming basket in the pot, place the artichokes on top of it, and then cover it with a lid.
  6. Wait for the water to come to a boil, and then slowly lower the heat to bring it to a gentle simmer.
  7. Let the artichokes cook for about 25 minutes to half an hour or longer until the outer leaves have visibly softened and become easier to remove.

You can also steam artichokes in a pressure cooker for about 5 to 15 minutes. The larger the artichokes, the longer it’ll take to cook them.

Boiling

What You Need

  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, sliced in half
  • 3 tablespoons of salt
  • 4 large artichokes
  • 2 teaspoons of whole black peppercorns
  • 1 gallon of water

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, pour in a gallon of water, add bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt, and bring it to boil.
  2. Use a sharp knife to trim the tips of the outer leaves and peel the outer skin of the artichoke stems as they can have a more bitter taste than the rest of the vegetable and peeling the skin may help reduce some of the bitterness.
  3. Add the artichokes and two halves of a lemon to the pot.
  4. Take two small but heavy plates and place them on top of the artichokes, reduce the heat, and let them cook for about 20 minutes until the artichokes have become tender.
  5. Take the artichokes out of the pot and let them sit until they’ve cooled down.
  6. Once they’re cool enough to be handled, get rid of the outer leaves and cut the spiky edges of the inner leaves.
  7. Use a spoon to scrape off the hairy choke from the artichoke heart and throw it away.
  8. The hearts and the leaves are now ready to be served.

Watch this video to learn how to cook, prepare, and eat an artichoke in just a few simple steps.

Picking out an Artichoke

When you’re picking out artichokes at your local supermarket, here are a couple of things you need to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting the best of the bunch:

  • Look for artichokes that feel quite heavy in your hands. Lighter artichokes are usually dried out and don’t have as much flesh as you’d like.
  • Try squeezing the artichoke to see if the leaves make a squeaking sound. Fresh artichokes are known to have squeaky leaves.
  • Since an artichoke is basically a flower bud, wider leaves are a sign that the artichoke is a little bit on the older side. You’ll know if an artichoke is fresh if the outer leaves are close together and have very little separation between them.
  • If the artichoke you’ve picked out looks like it was touched by frost, there’s no need to worry. Even though it may not look as good, it’s known to taste a lot better than regular artichokes and come at a higher price for that reason.
  • You’ll know if an artichoke is way past its prime and not worth your money if the tips of the leaves are shriveled up and discolored.

How Long Do Artichokes Last?

If you’ve properly stored your artichokes in the refrigerator, they should be safe to consume for up to 5 or 7 days.

But, if you wish to maximize their shelf life, you need to store them in the freezer to preserve their quality for around 10 months to a year.

Tips for Storing Artichokes

To store your artichokes in the fridge, you need to sprinkle them with a little bit of water, put them in a sealable plastic bag, and refrigerate them.

If you wish to freeze your artichokes, you need to wash and cook them first.

After they’ve been cooked, sprinkle them with a little lemon juice to keep them from darkening over time, put them in freezer bags or airtight containers, and place them in the freezer to enjoy them safely for up to a year.

How to cook artichokes

How to cook artichokes

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

One of the easiest and most traditional ways you can learn how to prepare artichokes is by steaming them.

Ingredients

  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Artichoke

Instructions

  1. Once the edges of the protective outer layer of the artichoke have been safely trimmed, use a serrated bread knife to cut about a ¾ inch off the top of the vegetable.
  2. Leave the stem on the artichoke as desired, but make sure you’ve peeled off the tough, fibrous layer with a vegetable peeler.
  3. Thoroughly rinse the artichokes under cold running water. Don’t forget to open up the leaves so that any dirt that’s hiding beneath them gets washed off as well.
  4. Pour some water in a large pot, and then add garlic, a bay leaf, and a slice of lemon to it. This is supposed to infuse the artichokes with an aromatic flavor.
  5. Carefully insert a steaming basket in the pot, place the artichokes on top of it, and then cover it with a lid.
  6. Wait for the water to come to a boil, and then slowly lower the heat to bring it to a gentle simmer.
  7. Let the artichokes cook for about 25 minutes to half an hour or longer until the outer leaves have visibly softened and become easier to remove.

Did you make this recipe?

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Final Words

Artichokes are worth going to all that trouble for because they’re quite versatile.

You can eat them raw, season them with a little bit of salt and pepper, or serve them with a delicious homemade sauce like pesto, mayonnaise, or even hollandaise.

My personal favorite way to eat them is by making the creamiest, most delicious spinach artichoke dip and enjoying it with tortilla chips. Believe me, that’s a recipe you don’t want to miss out on.

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